Infant feeding: Honey is bad for babies

The question:
Is it true that honey is bad for babies? – Valerie, California.

The Pediatrician Answers:
Yes, honey should not be given to babies in any form (including raw, cooked or baked into products). Honey is bad for babies because it can grow botulinum spores, which can secrete a toxin and produce a transient paralysis in young infants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that botulism is a rare but serious foodborne disease. When infants eat contaminated food, the botulinum bacterium spores grow in the intestines and release toxin. Treatment for infants requires hospitalization and possibly care in an intensive care unit. Antitoxin is not recommended for infants.

By the time infants are over one year of age, their intestines are able to destroy any botulinum spores, so honey is safe for toddlers and older children.


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