Pacifiers or soothers are one of the parent’s best friends when it comes to soothing the babies.
Pacifiers can help in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and they often come in handy during air-travel and doctor visits.
Like all other products that go into the baby’s mouth, parents have to be careful about pacifiers they buy and use. If you follow the tips given below, a pacifier would indeed become one of your best friends.
Babies tend to have a strong sucking reflex – a primitive reflex that compels them to suck anything that touches their lips or surrounding area. This reflex helps them to obtain nutrition, and in turn, satisfaction. Pacifiers offer a clean and safe sucking equipment to help soothe the baby.
A pacifier typically has three parts: a shield with holes for ventilation, a nipple or teat made of a soft elastic material, and a ring for holding the pacifier.
Here are some things you should look out for while choosing, using and maintaining a pacifier.
Choosing the right pacifier
There are a lot of types of pacifiers to choose from, from plain ones to fancy ones. Choose the right pacifier for your little one by following these tips:
- Age appropriate: Choose a pacifier suitable for the age of the baby. Pacifiers with teats that are too big or too small will pose a choking hazard to the child.
- Design: Avoid pacifiers that have parts that get detached easily as they may become a choking hazard.
- Ventilation: The ventilation holes in the shield should cover a minimum surface area of 20 sq. mm with at least two holes of 4 mm each. To be on the safe side, the area of the holes should be comparable to the nail of your small finger. Make sure that the holes are not obstructed.
- Do not innovate! Do not create a pacifier of your own or use another object as a substitute. It could be a risky affair as your baby may swallow and choke on the object.
Using and maintaining the pacifier
Even when you get the right pacifier, proper use and maintenance are required for it to be safe for your baby. (Ensure that your pacifier is safe and clean by following these tips)
- Clean: Clean the pacifier before every use. You can sterilize the pacifier using the same sterilization techniques as for milk bottles.
- Inspect for cracks: Inspect the pacifier for any cracks or wear and tear before each use. Damaged pacifiers pose a potential choking hazard, and should be replaced immediately.
- Storage: Store the pacifier in a cool and dry place, away from light and heat sources. Follow the instructions that come with the pacifier.
- Replace: Replace the pacifier every one to two months. Avoid buying in bulk and storing them for a long time, as the material may harden over time.
- Pacifier holders: Do not attempt to make your own pacifier holders as they may pose a strangulation hazard to your child. Use only dedicated pacifier holders and ensure that they are free from small parts that may detach.
- Removing a lodged pacifier: If you find that the pacifier has gotten stuck in the mouth of your baby, do not panic. Secure the head of the baby with one hand and remove the pacifier as gently as possible using the fingers of your other hand. Do not use the same type of pacifier again – go for one with a bigger shield.
Remember these five things before you use the pacifier next time.
- Choose an age appropriate pacifier with secure parts, at least two ventilation holes in the shield and that is made of good material.
- Inspect the pacifier for cracks or damages before every use. Replace the pacifier immediately if it is damaged.
- Use only dedicated soother holders. Ensure that they are free of small parts.
- Store the pacifier away from light and heat. Sterilize it before every use.
- Replace the pacifier every one to two months for safety and hygiene.
A pacifier is a wonderful product with many proven advantages. Used correctly, it helps the parents soothe a restless baby in a safe way. Safety goes a long way when we are caring for our little ones.
The Consumer Goods Safety Requirements (CGSR) regulations help make our homes safer for our family. Visit www.spring.gov.sg/productsafety to stay current on product safety alerts or consumer safety tips.