Why you should never give newborn babies honey

Honey: delicious for us, potentially dangerous for babies [Photo: Getty]

Parents are being warned not to give their babies honey after four children were treated for botulism in the US.

Earlier this month we revealed why babies of under six months should never drink water, because doing so could have fatal consequences.

And now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging parents not to give their babies honey.

The warning comes after four infants in Texas developed botulism after being exposed to the sweet stuff.

All four children had been given dummies (or pacifiers) that contained honey. Though these aren’t widely available, as the FDA points out, they can be purchased online.

All of the babies had to be treated in hospital for what the FDA described as “life-saving treatment.”

That caused the FDA to issue a reminder to never give honey to children under the age of one.

But why is honey so dangerous for young children?

According to the NHS honey occasionally contains bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby’s intestines, leading to infant botulism, which can cause a baby to be seriously ill.

“Infant botulism is when a baby swallows a resistant form of the bacteria, called a spore, in contaminated soil or food, such as honey,” the site reads.

“These spores are harmless to older children and adults because the body develops defences against them from about one year of age.”

Hence the advice that babies younger than this should not be given the sweet treat.

Four babies have been hospitalised after consuming dummies with honey in [Photo: Getty]

Symptoms of botulism include feeling sick, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea or constipation.

“Affected babies may also have a weak cry, find it difficult to feed and have a floppy head, neck and limbs,” the NHS explains.

Though most baby foods that contain honey will be safe because they’ve been heated to a high enough temperature to kill off any bacteria spores, parents are advised against cooking with honey, topping food with honey, or dipping dummies in honey.

So please don’t give your little ones honey, tempting though it may be to soothe them with a sweet treat, the risks just aren’t worth it.

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