Syphilis may be acquired even by extremely young children. A review of the American literature reveals surprisingly few reported cases of acquired syphilis in infants and young children. The foreign literature, especially the French, is rather rich in studies of this subject.
Downie1 in 1894 reported 4 cases of acquired syphilis in children. A chancre appeared on the lower lip of each of the 4 children, and secondary lesions were noted in 3 of them. The source of infection was relatives and a roomer in the home. The mode of transmission of the acquired disease was family relations.
Fournier2 in 1902 stated that a child may acquire syphilis and that it does not constitute "a rare rarity." He listed parturition, breast feeding, kissing, family relations and use of pacifiers and various types of toys as well as personal utensils as the manner of transmission of the disease to
CRESWELL GW, SEECH E, MURRAY WL. ACQUIRED SYPHILIS IN INFANTS AND IN CHILDRENREPORT OF THREE CASES. Am J Dis Child. 1943;66(6):611–614. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1943.02010240016004