What does honey do for children?
Honey is nature’s nutritionally packed gift. It’s a natural sweetener packed with minerals, enzymes, and vitamins.
Studies have shown that it has an immense nutrient value and is healthy for most of us.
Most parents are concerned about whether this is something that will benefit children. They’re curious if normal table honey is safe or healthy for them, considering the attention on the harmful nature of sugar, even in natural sources like freshly squeezed fruit juice.
On a similar note, we share your sentiments. We’re also worried about fake products, especially those created by sugar corn syrup to pass off as more expensive speciality honey.
Is It Safe to Give Children Honey?
Yes, it’s safe for children above one.
And no, it isn’t safe for children below one.
Honey is unsafe for children who have not reached one year of age.
This is because it can cause botulism as a child’s immune system is not developed yet.
Honey Is Not Safe for Children Below One
Do not give honey to a baby under one because it can cause botulism for the infant, which can be fatal.
Why Can’t I Give Honey to Babies Below One Year Old?
Infant botulism is a rare but severe gastrointestinal condition as a result of exposure to Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) spores. It can happen in infants below 12 months of age. The bacteria from the spores can accumulate and create a dangerous toxin.
Children younger than one don’t have an immune system that is developed enough to handle honey. Hence, it may cause botulism which may be fatal for babies below one.
For children above one year old, yes, all types of honey are safe for them.
How Much Honey Can Cause Infant Botulism?
Even a small amount of honey can prove severe, so avoid it completely.
What Should I Do if I Accidentally Gave My Baby Honey
Just realised that you gave your baby honey by accident?
Stay calm. Although infant botulism is a possibility, it’s also relatively rare.
Monitor your infant over the next 18 to 36 hours for signs of allergy or infant botulism. Some signs of infant botulism are:
- Appetite loss
- Weak cry
- Breathing difficulties
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of head control
Here are some signs of an allergy:
- Respiratory distress like wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties
- Dermatological issues like rashes
Honey Benefits for Children
We’re going to show you several tips and rules before you decide to give honey to your kids.
Some questions you may wonder are the benefits of honey for children, the amount of honey you can eat in a day, and whether it’s safe to give honey to your kids. We answer them:
Honey as a Natural and Healthy Sweetener and Energy Booster
As a parent, you probably understand that your kids have a sweet tooth.
You also know that too much sugar can trigger swings in mood and energy levels. As mentioned before, honey can be used as a substitute for sugar, and it’s much healthier than processed white sugar that is present in nearly all packaged foods.
Honey is not just a sweetener; it contains vital minerals and enzymes so that your children are not eating empty calories like sugar.
One tablespoon of honey contains an estimated amount of 64 calories and provides 17g of carbohydrates, comprised of sucrose, glucose, maltose, and galactose.
These carbohydrates are fuel for your kids to stay energetic all day.
Honey contains many healthy nutrients and contains 11mg of potassium, 1mg calcium, 1mg phosphorus and minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, fluoride, and selenium.
Honey also provides 1mg of Vitamin C and B, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamin B6 as reported by the US Department of Agriculture Nutrients.
Honey to Soothe a Sore Throat and as a Cold Remedy
Honey is a natural remedy for cold symptoms. It helps to soothe a sore throat as well.
To prepare honey as a home remedy, you can combine these:
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ¼ spoon cinnamon powder
Mix them in a cup of warm water and let your child drink twice a day daily until symptoms vanish. It’s better to give it during bedtime to give your child a good night’s sleep.
Honey to Relieve Coughing
One study found that honey worked better than two common cough medications and improved sleep.
You may prefer to give your kids honey because cough medication contains dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine.
Make a warm cup of honey water for your child, or a cup of the home remedy honey drink listed above for your children.
Honey to Strengthen the Immune System
Honey’s antibacterial properties can be used to stimulate the production of immune cells.
The antibacterial and antioxidant properties of honey are used to fight germs and bacteria. Honey also helps increase your child’s metabolism.
Give your child one spoon of honey daily before they start the day!
Honey as an Ointment
If your children have a slight burn or wound, you can use high-grade pure honey to heal them.
Make sure to wash the wound first with water and put on a small drop of honey on the affected area.
However, we will not recommend it if you are unsure of the quality as not all supermarket brands are high-quality honey.
Hospitals that use it as a treatment usually use medical-grade honey to heal because it is proven that honey helps in healing.
For burns or wounds that are severe, please visit a doctor for a consultation.
Honey for Stomach Infections
Honey has anti-bacterial properties that are effective in killing bacteria like E. coli, H. pylori, and even salmonella. It can regularise bowel movement and provide relief during stomach infections. If your child suffers from constipation or diarrhoea, it can help to provide relief.
You can give it to your child by preparing a cup of black tea and mixing it with a teaspoon of honey twice daily. For young children, you may just use warm water instead of tea.
Honey for Gut Health
Honey is a type of prebiotic, making it a good choice to help children retain healthy gut microbiome.
You can even add it to buttermilk as an ideal combination for good gut health.
How Much Honey Can Your Kids Eat In a Day?
Your sugar intake should not constitute more than 10% of your dietary energy. This is the daily recommended sugar limit by age group from the Health Promotion Board.
As a precaution, we are substituting honey for sugar, because it’s a lot healthier.
- Below 12 months: Do not give honey in this age group
- 1 to 2 years: 7 tsp (35g) sugar, approximately 2 teaspoons (34g) of honey
- 3 to 6 years: 9 tsp (45g) sugar, approximately 2 1/2 teaspoons (42.5g) of honey
- >6 years: 11 tsp (55g) sugar, approximately 3 teaspoons (51g) of honey
Tips for Using Honey
Honey’s sweet taste is usually loved by everyone. Instead of soda or sweetened food, we can use it to mix in water to satisfy cravings.
You can also use it in your cookies, pastries, or home dishes as a substitute for sugar.
Remember to store it in a closed and cool place and for a long shelf life!
Honey Allergy or Pollen Allergy
Before you decide to introduce this magnificent food called honey into your child’s diet, make sure you check for honey or pollen allergies.
Look out for any sign of discomfort or stomach disorder. Bring your child to their paediatrician to make sure.
What Are the Health Benefits of Honey for Children and Adults?
The health benefits of honey for children applies to us adults too! We also need the minerals, enzymes, and vitamins found in them as much as kids.
When we are sick with a cough, cold, or sore throat, the honey drink or tablespoon of honey we give to our kids work wonders on us too.
It can be consumed raw, cooked, or mixed in your drinks or food. Not only that but it can also be used to substitute white sugar, giving you a better and healthier choice.
However, this sweet substance is still sugary and calorific and should thus be consumed in moderation.
What are the Side Effects of Honey in Toddlers?
Do children experience side effects from eating honey?
If you have determined that your child, who is above 1 year of age, has no evident allergy towards the healthy substance, you should not see any side effects. However, in the rare cases that you notice these symptoms, discontinue use immediately and seek the help of a medical practitioner if necessary:
- Breathing difficulties
- Muscle weakness
You should also bear in mind that you should only give the appropriate amount to your baby. Avoid giving it in excessive amounts that may lead to weight gain over time.
So, is honey safe for your children? Should you start giving it to them?
To sum it up, honey has many great benefits for your children and is safe. Always remember to give it to your child as needed, not over the sugar daily intake recommendations.
Look for signs of allergy or discomfort after they consume honey. If your child suffers from some medical conditions, talk to their doctor or health specialist for more information.