FDA Renews Warning Against Feeding Honey to Babies
Adding honey might be a tempting way to help sweeten foods or increase a baby’s desire to suck on a pacifier but the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has renewed its warning against this practice.
In a recent statement, the FDA reminded parents and caregivers to avoid giving honey to infants or children younger than one year of age. This includes pacifiers filled with or dipped in honey, or to sweeten any organic baby food.
Specifically, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported last week that four infants had been hospitalized with botulism, and in each of the four cases the infants had used pacifiers containing honey.
Honey contains Clostridium botulinum spores which can grow and release toxins in an infant’s intestines, causing infant botulism. It is the most common category of botulism. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if a baby shows any symptoms of botulism, including constipation, a weak cry, appearing lethargic or “floppy”, loss of facial expression, or feeding poorly, parents should see a doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
Honey pacifiers have commonly been used in the past because infants enjoy its sweet taste and its claimed health benefits such as easing constipation or colic. However, following the recommendations of the FDA, CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, please remember that only adults and children over one year of age should consume honey.