When can honey be given to children without risk - Is honey good?

When can honey be given to children without risk - Is honey good?
feeding, Child nutrition, Health, Prescriptions, Childhood illnesses, Diabetes

Honey is not recommended for child how is under 1 year of age due to the risk of botulism


Honey is a very popular food. We have in mind its healing properties due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, healing effects, etc. (although there are few studies that demonstrate these benefits) and its sweet taste that leads us to think that it can be a very good option when it comes to sweetening the food of our babies and children. However, it is strongly discouraged to introduce it to smaller babies. But, when can we start giving honey to children without it being a risk?

  • When to give honey to children without it being a risk?
  • Is honey good for babies and children?
  • Alternatives to sweeten children's meals without honey
  • Is honey a good home remedy for cough in children?
  • When to give honey to children without it being a risk?

It is totally inadvisable to give honey to children before the first year of age. It is recommended to wait until the child is 12 months old to offer honey (even the later it is introduced into the child's diet, the better).

Honey and its derived products may contain Clostridium botulinum spores, which are harmless in adults, but if the baby takes it, his stomach is not sufficiently prepared to destroy the spores and, in his intestine, they grow, multiply and can produce neurotoxins that can paralyse muscles. This is known as infant botulism.


It must be said that botulism in children is rare, but very serious and, therefore, the consumption of honey must be prohibited in children under 12 months.


And what about cereals with honey for babies from 6 months? You may have seen in food stores that there are cereals with honey available to parents, which are recommended for babies from 6 months (when complementary feeding begins).


Cereals with honey usually contain a very small amount of honey (between 5-8 percent), and are also treated with heat so that the spores are inactivated, so they are usually safe to consume.


Is honey good for babies and children?

Honey is mainly made up of sugars (78-80 percent), water (17 percent), and very small amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals, which can lead us to think that it is a very beneficial food. However, it does not reach 1 percent of the recommended daily amount and we would need to consume large amounts for there to be any benefit.


Having a sweet taste, honey is usually a very pleasant food for children, but there is no adequate dose for its consumption.


Given the large amount of sugar it contains, it is not recommended for children under 3 years of age. Additionally, the World Health Organization classifies honey as free sugars (includes monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by manufacturers, cooks, or during home cooking, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and juices or fruit juices) and suggests that it should not represent more than 10 percent of the daily energy intake of a person, both children and adults.


Excessive consumption of free sugar, especially in liquid form, is associated with dental caries (oral hygiene is important from babies and tooth brushing from the first tooth), overweight and obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal discomfort (diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating and abdominal pain, and growth retardation).


Alternatives to sweeten children's meals without honey

Honey is one more food, one more option; It is not the healthiest, that has already been made clear, but if it is decided to make it part of the diet, let it be in the knowledge that it is not the best option and, above all, to sweeten it.


It is important to remember that the palate is educable for both sweet and salty, so if we offer very sweet foods from babies, the sweetness threshold will be higher and higher and foods with a natural sweetness, such as fruit, will not taste to any.


There are ingredients that can replace honey when sweetening and also reduce the amount of free sugar:


  • Baked fruit: Apples, peaches, strawberries, apricot, banana, mango, fresh pineapple, etc. as a filling for a sponge cake or to mix with yogurt.


  • Fruit puree: Pumpkin, beetroot, applesauce, mashed bananas or roasted or cooked beetroot puree, etc.


  • Dried fruit: Dates, raisins, plums, dried apricots or dried figs, etc.


  • Is honey a good home remedy for cough in children?


Honey is traditionally used as a home remedy for coughs and colds. It seems that administration in children with moderate cough may have a positive impact, however, the evidence tells us that it is not entirely clear that it reduces cough symptoms and many studies are still required.