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I saw a disturbing clip on the Today Show this morning and want to help spread the word about a potential danger. AS we all face tough economic times, many families are struggling with how to make ends meet and looking for any way to stretch their dollars in order to feed their families. Just as we might add a little water to the broth to give us more soup, parents are innocently adding addtional water to baby formula to make the formula last longer. Watering-down baby formula creates a very dangerous risk to the infant, one that I was not aware of, and suspect that most people do now know.

Adding water to infant formula presents a risk of water intoxication to the baby. News of this hazard has come to light by the sad story of a 5-month old who is recovering from water intoxication after her parents used less formula and more water. The parents were diluting the formula because they were facing financial difficulties. Trying to do the best for their child, they inadvertently caused serious health problems for the baby. The infant had seizures and then stopped breathing. He spent two days on a ventilator in the hospital. The child is now home, but will have to be monitored over the next several years to determine if he suffered any neurological and neurodevelopmental injuries.

Adding more water than is called for by the formula gives the baby too much water. The extra water literally drowns the baby as he or she drinks the formula.

As these parents learned, governmental assistance programs such as WIC do not always provide enough to cover expenses, especially in this bad economy. But diluting the formula is not the answer. Parents who are facing this problem should contact their local social services or their local hospital to see what other assistance might be available.

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