Why you should never give your baby honey when they have a cough | The Sun

YOU might have heard of giving honey to children to treat coughs.

While it's safe for older children, a team of child first aid experts have warned that you should avoid giving it to babies at all costs.

That's because babies under 12 months old can get severely ill from eating honey, according to Tiny Hearts Education.

In a recent Instagram post, the team of medics behind the child and baby first aid education page shared that honey can contain bacteria that can give your little one a rare but serious condition called infant botulism.

According to NHS guidance, the bacteria in the honey can produce toxins in a baby's intestines, which then attack the nerves, brain and spinal cord and cause can paralysis.

While most people infected with this life-threatening illness make a full recovery when treated, the paralysis can spread to the muscles that control breathing if it's not treated quickly.

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Botulism is fatal about 5 to 10 per cent of the time.

Tiny Hearts medics detailed a few symptoms of the deadly illness parents should know to look out for, including:

  1. muscle weakness – your baby might appear floppy, have poor head control and have difficulty flexing their knees and elbows
  2. weak crying
  3. loss of appetite and finding it difficult to feed
  4. constipation
  5. difficulty swallowing

You might think cooking honey would rid it of the harmful bacteria that causes botulism.

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But the first aiders warned that the bacteria is heat resistant, so cooking the honey would do nothing to diminish the risk.

"It is recommended to avoid honey until over 12 months even if cooked," they wrote.

Before that age, babies' digestive systems haven't developed the natural defences that can fight off botulism-causing toxins, rendering them extra vulnerable to the illness.

But it's totally fine for breastfeeding mums to eat honey, as the botulism toxins can't be passed on through their milk.

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