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Watering down is a formula for danger

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

December 8, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The economy has more financially strapped parents looking for ways to stretch money. Some parents are diluting their baby's formula to make it last longer, but it can put your infant at risk.

This danger was highlighted after a five-month old in Tampa suffered a seizure and stopped breathing. And health officials here say this can easily happen in Southwest Georgia because of the high poverty rate.

It's a formula for danger. "Babies don't grow as well, and they have weight gain issues," said Pediatrician, Dr. Stacy Evans. But in this tough economy some parents feel they have no choice. "The more worrisome thing is causing an imbalance in the salts of their infant's bloodstream."

Watering down baby formula dilutes the calories, minerals, and vitamins that an infant needs to be healthy.

"When that happens you can have something like a seizure because their salt content gets so low, and they are getting to much free-water," said Dr. Evans. "If you are having trouble there are WIC programs."

The Women, Infants, and Children program helps pay for the nutritional needs for pregnant woman to parents with children up to 5 years old. But the program only pays for up to 70-percent of babies' nutritional needs. "Try to save money in other areas instead from your child," said Dr. Evans.

Complications from watered-down formula run higher the younger the infant.

"Across the board it's a bad idea, but the younger the child the more likely the problems they will have with electrolytes and all the imbalances in their blood which can cause significant problems," said Dr. Evans.

Significant problems that will cost parents a lot more than the dollars they may save from watering-down formula.

Doctors say that not adding enough water to baby formula is also dangerous. Children can suffer from symptoms of too much sodium or higher than normal potassium levels. You can click here to find out how to apply for WIC.