Jun 26, 2014

4 'Good' Things You Do that Can Be Deadly to Your Child

Vitamins, minerals, milk, and honey – all these are good, healthy stuff. But did you know that some of these "good" things are in fact dangerous, even deadly, for children?

Giving Water to Babies

Every summer, Johns Hopkins Children's Center sees 3 to 4 infants suffering from seizures because their parents gave them water to drink.


"Babies need extra fluids in the hot weather, but straight water is not one of them," says Allen Walker, head of Johns Hopkins' emergency department.

Walker explained that the body needs both water and sodium. Children on solid food can get sodium from their food, but infants rely completely on their milk.

When pure water replaces milk, the water-sodium balance is lost, resulting in water intoxication, a potentially fatal condition.

To avoid water intoxication (and malnutrition), the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving only breastmilk to babies 6 months old and below.

Replacing Sugar with Honey

Honey is a healthy alternative to refined sugar. Research from the American Chemical Society shows this golden liquid is full of disease-fighting antioxidants.


But the WHO warns that honey can also contain Clostridium botulinum, a known cause of infant food poisoning:
Human botulism is a serious, potentially fatal disease.

Infant botulism ... occurs when infants ingest Clostridium botulinum spores, which germinate into bacteria that colonize in the gut and release toxins.

Spore-contaminated honey has been associated with a number of cases.
Adults and older kids are safe from these toxins because their bodies have already developed resistance, the WHO says, but infants are easy victims.

Symptoms of infant botulism include weakness, loss of appetite, constipation, and loss of head control. If an infant displays these symptoms, bring the child to the hospital emergency room immediately.

Taking Iron Supplements

Iron is a crucial mineral our body needs to deliver life-giving oxygen to our cells.

Image via Wikipedia by Ragesoss
But according to research from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, iron is also "a leading cause of poisoning-related injury and death" in children from 0 to 4 years old.

The research notes that children often overdose on iron supplements taken from child-resistant containers. Parents should keep all medicines and supplements in locked cabinets out of children's reach.

If you suspect iron overdosage, call the Philippine Poison Control Center's 24/7 assistance office at (02) 524-1078.

Breastfeeding During Diarrhea

The Department of Health lists diarrhea as the number 2 cause of death among Filipino children aged 1 to 4 years old. Part of diarrhea treatment is to give the child plenty of clean, nutritious fluids – and breastmilk is as clean and nutritious as fluids can possibly get.


But if your breastfed child's diarrhea won't resolve, breastmilk may be the culprit.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains that an initial episode of diarrhea can trigger temporary lactose intolerance in children, so your breastfed baby is suddenly unable to digest breastmilk properly. If you continue giving breastmilk to the baby, the diarrhea will not stop.

Temporary bottle feeding with lactose-free formula can provide your child with nourishment and fluids until the child's body is able to digest lactose again. For information on when to see the pediatrician, check out the Mayo Clinic website.

Certainly, in most cases, iron, honey, breastmilk, and water are good for children. But when given inappropriately, they can be deadly. The last thing we want to do is to hurt our children by the very same actions we intended to protect them.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

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