One of the joys of my professional life is serving as a member of the visiting faculty of a Christian family medicine residency, In His Image, in Tulsa, OK. One of the residents recently sent out this note which is a good reminder to parents with children under one year of age.
I’m presently doing my rotation in outpatient Peds clinic. I just want to share something that caught our attention when a Hispanic mom brought her child in for a 2 month well child check.
It was a usual normal well baby check until mom said that she gives her child a pacifier with honey on it. As we all know, giving honey to babies less than a year old is a health hazard as it can cause infantile botulism.
Apparently, the honey-containing pacifier is used commonly in the Hispanic community when i did some research about it.
Here in Tulsa, there are several stores known to the Hispanic community that sell this kind of pacifier. One is located in 15th & Lewis called Vickie’s. There is no label in the packet of the pacifier that warns buyers not to give it to babies under 1 year old.
I did not know about the existence of a honey-containing pacifier until I saw that mom and baby at the Peds clinic. It’s good that we should be aware of this because a lot of moms don’t know that giving honey to their babies is a health hazard.
I have attached the alert letter sent by the OKAAP to pediatricians in Oklahoma warning them of these pacifiers, and they have filed a complaint to the Tulsa health department about this.
Honey may contain Clostridium botulinum spores that can cause infant botulism, a rare but serious disease that affects the nervous system of young babies (mostly under one year of age). C. botulinum spores are present throughout the environment and may be found not only in honey, but also in dust, soil, and improperly canned foods.
Adults and children over one year of age are routinely exposed to, but not normally affected by, C. botulinum spores — primarily because their more mature gastrointestinal tract, in general, and stomach acid, in particular, can kill the spores.
However, babies, with a less mature GI tract, and less stomach acid to kill the spores, can contract botulism from honey.
Thanks, Joanna. It’s a good reminder not only to parents, but to healthcare professionals who love and care for kids.