Posts Tagged ‘ pacifiers ’

Sucking a Baby’s Pacifier Clean May Have Health Benefits

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Every mother has been faced with what to do with a baby’s pacifier that has been tossed onto the floor.  Do you rinse?  Wash carefully with hot water?  Or, do you just suck it for a moment to clear away the debris, and hand it back to your baby?  A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that the latter method may actually have some health benefits.  The New York Times has more:

In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.

The findings add to growing evidence that some degree of exposure to germs at an early age benefits children, and that microbial deprivation might backfire, preventing the immune system from developing a tolerance to trivial threats.

The study, carried out in Sweden, could not prove that the pacifiers laden with parents’ saliva were the direct cause of the reduced allergies. The practice may be a marker for parents who are generally more relaxed about shielding their children from dirt and germs, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the research.

“It’s a very interesting study that adds to this idea that a certain kind of interaction with the microbial environment is actually a good thing for infants and children,” he said. “I wonder if the parents that cleaned the pacifiers orally were just more accepting of the old saying that you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt. Maybe they just had a less ‘disinfected’ environment in their homes.”

Studies show that the microbial world in which a child is reared plays a role in allergy development, seemingly from birth. Babies delivered vaginally accumulate markedly different bacteria on their skin and in their guts than babies delivered by Caesarean section, and that in turn has been linked in studies to a lower risk of hay fever, asthma and food allergies. But whether a mother who puts a child’s pacifier in her mouth or feeds the child with her own spoon might be providing similar protection is something that had not been closely studied, said Dr. Bill Hesselmar, the lead author of the study.

In fact, health officials routinely discourage such habits, saying they promote tooth decay by transferring cavity-causing bacteria from a parent’s mouth to the child’s. In February, the New York City health department started a subway ad campaign warning parents of the risk. “Don’t share utensils or bites of food with your baby,” the ads say. “Use water, not your mouth, to clean off a pacifier.”

Despite the study’s findings, parents should exercise common sense when cleaning pacifiers that have been dropped into very germ-laden situations, such as a garbage can or bathroom floor.

Image: Red pacifier, via Shutterstock

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Study: Toddlers Can Be Hurt by Walking with Pacifiers, Bottles

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that about 2,270 children are injured each year in accidents that involve pacifiers, sippy cups, or bottles.  CNN.com reports on the study, which cites facial lacerations, dental injuries, and cuts to the lips and tongue as the most common injuries associated with the items:

“Teeth were either knocked out, chipped, pushed back up into the gums or knocked sideways,” says Sarah Keim, lead study author and a researcher at the Center for Biobehavioral Health at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The study also found that one-year-old children were injured the most often.

Dr. Garry Gardner is a pediatrician in Chicago and chairs the Injury, Violence and Poison Control committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics. He’s not surprised by the results of this study, especially that the majority of children injured were about 1-year-old.

“They toddle along and they’re not very coordinated and it’s amazing to see these kids trip over nothing – and they do it all the time.”

If there’s anything in a child’s mouth, he says, it’s going to cause an injury to the mouth or hurt a tooth.

Image: Child walking with pacifier, via Shutterstock.

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