Why shouldn’t babies be given honey?

Babies under one year of age should not be given honey. The reason behind this is that, if given honey, they may develop infant botulism. Infant botulism is a gastrointestinal disease caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. The spores of this bacteria are found in soil and dust particles. Honey has also been found to be contaminated with the bacteria.

The spores of Clostridium botulinum, when ingested, grow and multiply in the gastrointestinal tract. They release poisonous toxins which interfere with the normal interaction between the muscles and nerves and can cause muscle weakness and breathing problems.

Kids over one year of age and adults have digestive systems which are well developed and are able to protect against the bacteria. However the digestive tract of babies under the age of one is underdeveloped making them susceptible to develop infant botulism.

Although rare, the bacterium poses a threat to babies under 12 months of age. Hence it is advised to refrain from giving honey to infants.


  1. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/botulism.html
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001384.htm
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/infant-botulism/faq-20058477


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