The Dangers Of Babies Taking Honey

Please note that honey is NOT safe for children under 1 year old.  This is because honey will sometimes still have some "bad bacteria" in it. If older children or adults take it, it’s okay since our digestive systems are strong enough to deal with it. If babies, especially below 1yo, take it, there is a chance that the babies will suffer serious or fatal ailments.

Ailment is called Botulism (See  Botulism has a few causes and consuming honey when too young is one of them.

Quote from Wikipedia:
Infant botulism (first recognized in 1976) is the most common form of the ailment in the United States. It affects about 100 infants per year in the United States. Infants less than 12 months of age are susceptible, with almost 90% of cases occurring between the ages of 3 weeks and 6 months of age at presentation. The mode of action of this form is through colonization by germinating spores in the gut of an infant. The first symptom is usually constipation, followed by generalized weakness, loss of head control and difficulty feeding. Like the other forms of botulism, the symptoms are caused by the absorption of botulinum toxin, and typically progress to a symmetric descending flaccid paralysis. Death is often the eventual outcome unless the infant receives artificial ventilation.

Sweeteners such as honey and aspartame are potentially dangerous for infants. This is partly because the digestive juices of an infant are less acidic than older children and adults, and may be less likely to destroy ingested spores. In addition, young infants do not yet have sufficient numbers of resident microflora in their intestines to competitively exclude C. botulinum. Unopposed in the small intestine, the warm body temperature creates a medium for botulinum spores to germinate, divide and produce toxin. Thus, C. botulinum is able to colonize the gut of an infant with relative ease, whereas older children and adults are not typically susceptible to ingested spores. C. botulinum spores are widely present in the environment, including honey. For this reason, it is advised that no sweetener be given to children until after 12 months. Nevertheless, the majority of infants with botulism have no dietary history, and the exact source of the offending spores is unclear about 85% of the time. Spores present in the soil are a leading candidate for most cases, and often a history of construction near the home of an affected infant may be obtained.

Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. However, in the past 50 years, the proportion of patients with botulism who die has fallen from about 50% to 8% due to improved supportive care. A patient with severe botulism may require a breathing machine as well as intensive medical and nursing care for several months. Patients who survive an episode of botulism poisoning may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years and long-term therapy may be needed to aid their recovery.

Infant botulism has no long-term side effects, but can be complicated by nosocomial adverse events. The case fatality rate is less than 1% for hospitalized infants with botulism.

Although honey is just one of many causes of botulism, it is always better to avoid till later. Although botulism can be cured nowadays with no long-term side effects if you have access to medical technology quickly, I’m sure you don’t want to risk having your baby suffer through all that.

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thanks winth, i've always

thanks winth, i’ve always been using a metal spoon. 

time to switch.


We should help to inform others

GreenQ: I think in cases like this one, the nany should replace the honey water with glucose instead. I know that glucose is okay becos the hospital gave it to my DD when she was a newborn.

magg: I think for older generations, it is difficult to explain to them that food manufacturers motive is to earn profit so they may not choose to seek out all literature available on what is okay and what is not for children. The same goes for the toy manufacturers, etc. Maybe you can explain to your mom using the "lead in paint used on toys" as example?

Since we are knowledgeable, I feel that we should write in to those companies and insist that they take action or else…. well, we have the right to inform everyone we know about their products. We won;t get into trouble with the law as long as we use peaceful means to disseminate the info and the info is 100% correct with a lot of (acknowledged) scientific backing.

I have personally written in to a well-known toy company in the USA to give feedback about a toy I bought for my DD when she was a baby. It was labelled as suitable for children under 3 but an incident caused me to think otherwise. They did send an apology letter but I was too busy back then as a SAHM to do follow-up to see if the product was withdrawn/re-designed/re-labelled for older children. Luckily, in this case, my DH and I found out early enough to prevent anything major from happening to my DD so I did not ask for compensation.

Honey in rice cereals

I notice some of the rice cereals have honey in it. Wonder if it is ok? Cos I knew about avoiding honey for small children but the older generation seems to think otherwise and my mum even highlighted to me that if it is not ok, why did the baby food making company include honey in  their cereals   That’s why I feel it is important for parents to be well informed and make the appropriate decisions with regards to the babies diet.

I used to see a nanny who

I used to see a nanny who fed baby in pram (abt 8 or 9 mths old) with honey water. When I asked her why she gave such water to the baby. She told me bcoz the baby refused to take plain water.
So this article is nice to alert some parents with babies at home… 🙂

 you are welcome

 you are welcome schellen! 

Thanks, mincy!

Thank you very much, mincy! Sorry, I forgot that you can change the pic too.

Actually, I can change the pic myself too, I realise, but I was afraid of fouling up and making other things disappear too.  (^_^ " )>

Wasn't me

No… I didn’t do it.  Must be mincy .

Thanks, Chief!

Thanks for changing the pic so quickly, Chief!  ^_^

Chief, change pic pls!

Chief, winth is correct. I didn’t notice it at first but can you change the pic?

nmhmum, I’m glad. I can’t remember when I started giving honey to my DD but I think she was at least 3 already.

I hope infant care centres and childcare centres know about this too. If not, parents should inform them. Parents should inform well-meaning relatives and maids, who may not know too.

Weird that the picture

Weird that the picture shows honey being poured onto a metal spoon.

Actually to use honey, it is best to use a plastic or glass spoon instead as metal will destroy the original chemical components of honey.

And the water should not be boiling hot too as the components are feared to be distorted.

I used to get sore throat

I used to get sore throat quite frequently. After taking manuka honey for a while, I realised my immune system improve. So whenever I am coming up with sore throat, I just took the honey. It works for me. Initially wanted to give honey to my kids too, but after this article posted, I better think twice first. 

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