You’d think that since pacifiers are specifically for babies that they’d be safe for babies.
But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that’s not always the case.
Four Texas babies were hospitalized for botulism after they were given pacifiers.
These pacifiers, however, contained honey.
Most parents know that honey is not safe for infants.
According to Parents, children under the age of 12 months shouldn’t have honey because it may contain spores of bacteria that cause botulism.
While honey is safe for people older than 1, babies have less developed digestive and immune systems to fight the negative effects of the spores.
“Botulism is a serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and can cause difficulty breathing, paralysis and even death. Honey may contain bacteria that produce the toxin in the intestine of babies that eat it. By the time children get to be 12 months old, they’ve developed enough other types of bacteria in their digestive tract to prevent the botulism bacteria from growing and producing toxin,” the Texas Department of State Health Services wrote in a press release.
The Texas Department of State Health Services says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long warned parents about the dangers of giving honey to their babies.
The FDA says that the honey-filled pacifiers were all purchased in Mexico and that the babies became ill between mid-August and October.
The babies were hospitalized and given a life-saving treatment. They were residents of West Texas, North Texas, and South Texas.
The honey-filled pacifiers aren’t very common in the U.S. but they are available online and through some specialty stores.
The Atlantic reports that studies around botulism and honey-pacifiers involve reports where the pacifiers were dipped in honey.
“Most aren’t designed for the honey to be consumed, but some have a small hole so a child could eat the honey, or the pacifier could accidentally rupture or leak,” the Texas Health Department’s press release said.
“Parents should also avoid pacifiers containing any other food substance because they could also pose a risk of botulism.”
A study published in the journal “Pediatrics” found that out of 397 parents in the Houston area 11 percent were giving honey pacifiers to their children.
About 81 percent of the parents in the study were Hispanic, indigent and out of the Mexican deserts.
According to The Atlantic, parents use these pacifiers out of tradition, because they are believed to help with ailments like constipation or colic, or because their babies preferred them.
About 80 percent of the parents in the study said they didn’t know honey was potentially dangerous.
Botulism is a rare condition but modern medicine has made it less lethal.
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“Texas has had seven to eight cases of infant botulism per year in recent years. Ten confirmed or suspected cases have been reported in 2018.”
Signs of botulism in babies include lethargy or a baby going “floppy” and a lack of appetite.
You should immediately see a doctor or go to the emergency room if you see these symptoms in your baby.
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