Best Pacifier Safety Tips: Dangers at Home

Pacifier Threats for Kids

Baby Sleeping with pink pacifier in mouth

Did you know that every four hours in the US a child is injured by the use of a pacifier, bottle, or sippy cup? I had NO IDEA it was that common! Then again, when you think about the number of children that use pacifiers, bottles, and cups, it isn’t that shocking. While pacifiers are not dangerous, there are some pacifier safety tips you should practice to reduce your child’s risk of injury.

When my oldest was a toddler, my mother in law commented on the size of her pacifier. She was still using an infant size because I had no idea there were different sizes! I didn’t understand why I should bother purchasing a bigger pacifier.

Her point was simple, as babies grow, so do their mouths, and infant size pacifiers are not meant for toddler sized mouths. Meaning, your child can fit that entire pacifier in her mouth. It can get stuck, and she could get seriously injured.

That seems like common sense, right? But I had never thought about it like that!

There’s a home safety cheat sheet in the toolkit! Get yours today!

I never knew how much I didn’t know until I became a parent.

My mother in law has been a NICU nurse longer than I’ve been alive, so, I should probably listen to her advice.

I did a little research on the American Academy of Pediatrics website, and as it turns out, they have a whole slew of pacifier safety tips. Who knew?!

5 Pacifier Safety Tips

  1. Do not use the top and nipple from a baby bottle as a pacifier, even if you tape them together. If the baby sucks hard, the nipple may pop out of the ring and choke her.
  2. Purchase pacifiers that cannot possibly come apart. Those molded of one solid piece of plastic are particularly safe. If you are in doubt, ask your pediatrician for a recommendation.
  3. The shield between the nipple and the ring should be at least 1-1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) across so the infant cannot take the entire pacifier into her mouth. Also, the shield should be made of firm plastic with ventilation holes.
  4. Never tie a pacifier to your child’s crib or around your child’s neck or hand; it’s dangerous and could cause injury or even death.
  5. Pacifiers deteriorate over time. Inspect them periodically to see whether the rubber is discolored or torn. If so, replace them. Also, follow the recommended age range on the pacifier, as older children can sometimes fit an entire newborn pacifier in their mouth and choke.

While pacifiers are not dangerous, there are some pacifier safety tips you should practice to reduce your child’s risk of injury.

I know. Some of these pacifier safety tips seem entirely too simple, but it’s always the simple things that we overlook the most! I always assumed that if a pacifier was available to purchase, then it had to be safe. Now I know that’s not necessarily true.

My oldest only liked the MAM pacifiers. They’re two pieces. I never thought anything of it because a lot of moms recommend them. Sure enough, once my child had a few teeth, she bit a hole at the back of the nipple and while sucking, managed to rip the nipple from the pacifier base. Luckily she was awake, and I was paying enough attention to notice what she had done. I safely removed the nipple from her mouth, and that was it.

There’s a home safety cheat sheet in the toolkit! Get yours today!

But what if she had been asleep?! She could have easily choked on the nipple, and I would never have known. I don’t even want to think about how detrimental that could have been.

None of this is intended to scare you. Pacifiers will not harm your baby. In fact, there is some evidence that pacifiers may help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). I learned pacifier safety tips too late in my parenting and want to prevent any scary situations for you by sharing what I’ve learned.

Now I know better! And you do too.

Check out some other posts in the Dangers at Home Series!

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Resources: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)

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