14:20 PM

Health Alert Warns Against Giving Infants Honey, Pacifiers Containing Honey

Texas Health and Human Services Reports 4 Cases of Botulism since August

Texas Health and Human Services has sent out an urgent message warning parents about the risks of giving honey to children 12 months old and younger.

"Infants (children less than 12 months of age) should not be given honey, or pacifiers containing honey or other food products, because of the risk of contracting infant botulism. Consumption of honey is widely recognized as a risk factor for infant botulism by healthcare and public health professionals" THHS wrote in its health alert.

Babies exposed to honey can contract botulism which can present as constipation leading to the inability to suck, weakness (loss of head control) and ultimately difficulty breathing.

Kids under 1 should not have honey, honey containing foods or baby products containing honey.

Botulism cases are usually rare, with about  8 cases per year in Texas but there have been four reported cases in the state since August. All four of those cases were linked to honey containing pacifiers. Botulism can be fatal and should be considered a medical emergency.

Normally, honey is a great option for cough in kids, but it should NEVER be used under 1 year of age.

Symptoms in infants often include:

  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Generalized weaknesses (the “floppy” baby syndrome”)
  • Poor feeding
  • Poor head control
  • Poor gag and sucking reflex
Alert from Texas Health and Human Services



Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at thedocsmitty@cookchildrens.org.

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.