Four babies in Texas have become seriously ill with botulism linked to the use of honey-filled pacifiers. The pacifiers were purchased in Mexico but can sometimes be found on websites or purchased in the United States, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The first case was diagnosed in August, and the most recent case was at the end of October. All four babies ended up in the hospital with botulism, which happens when a type of bacteria — usually Clostridium botulinum — takes hold in the gastrointestinal tract and produces a toxin that can cause potentially life-threatening breathing trouble and paralysis
“In each of those cases, the infants had some time recently been given a honey-filled pacifier,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the DSHS. “They are more common in Mexico than they are in the United States.”
Many of these pacifiers contain honey (or other sweet substances, like maple or corn syrup) that isn’t meant to be consumed by the baby but is used to make the pacifier soft and pliable. However, a small hole or rupture could mean the honey gets into a baby’s mouth by accident, according to the DSHS. Pacifiers that contain other non-honey substances, such as corn syrup, can still be risky, said Van Deusen, so it’s best to avoid any pacifiers that contain food substances.