Pacifiers are so commonly used. So, how did such a tragedy occur at all? Should you need to worry about before giving a pacifier to your bub?
When this mother handed over a pacifier to her bundle of love, she wouldn’t have thought that it would prove fatal for him. But it did. In an unforeseen accident in Malaysia, a 16-month old boy died as he got strangulated by his pacifier’s neon strap.
As per this report, the baby was trying to jump down from his cradle, when the incident occurred. His mum, Narumon Pasupah, found him strangulated by the strap with his body dangling from the cradle. She had just stepped out to fetch one of her four kids from school, at the time of this tragedy.
The 33-year-old mum was shocked to see the toddler’s lifeless body having turned blue by the time she got there. Despite having rushed to a hospital, the baby couldn’t be saved.
Who would have associated such a risk with something like a pacifier, which is actually meant to soothe a baby? Commonly used to comfort and calm a fussy baby, even pacifiers come with a series of dos and don’ts, and rightfully so.
As a new parent comforting your bub is one of your main priorities. While it’s definitely not a substitute for nursing or feeding, if the baby is fussy and wants to suck even after having her fill of breastmilk (or formula), a pacifier might just satisfy her. If you choose to offer your baby a pacifier, keep these in mind:
Advantages of a pacifier
- Calm a cranky baby. As is the case with everything else, this may not apply to all babies. However, most babies feel a sense of comfort and security as they suckle on something.
- Use and throw. If your bub is used to a pacifier, and it’s time for him to stop using it, you can just chuck it away. If your child prefers to suck on his finger or toes, it might be difficult to break that habit.
- Provides temporary distraction. If going to get a shot or need to get his blood tested or be it any other uncomfortable procedure, a pacifier may offer temporary distraction. Since he associates pacifier with comfort and security, it will make him less cranky.
Disadvantages of a pacifier
- Baby may get used to it. If your baby uses a pacifier to sleep and it happens to fall out of his mouth, be prepared to wake up frequently during those crying spells.
- May lead to dental issues. If the pacifier isn’t discontinued at the right time, it may lead to dental issues like misaligned teeth.
Pacifier dos and don'ts
- Avoid using a pacifier at the first sign of distress. Sometimes all that your bub needs is to be rocked or a different position. Offer a pacifier only between feeds.
- Pick the right pacifier. Opt for the silicone one-piece, dishwasher-safe variety. A two-piece pacifier increases the risk of choking in case the parts get loose.
- Bub doesn’t want it? Don’t use it. The idea is for the baby to be comfortable and ‘pacified’. If it looks like the baby doesn’t need it, avoid forcing it on him. If he is unperturbed as it falls off his mouth while sleeping, let it remain so. You don’t have to put it back in.
- Keep it clean. Keep a couple of pacifiers handy so that you can clean them without the fear of the bub screaming his lungs out waiting for it. Frequently boil the pacifier to get rid of any germs.
- NEVER tie a strap to the pacifier. Never use a string or strap long enough to get caught around your baby's neck. Accidents are just waiting to happen and one moment of neglect can prove risky.
Just ensure that you break the habit at the right time. The risks of using a pacifier starts to outweigh the benefits as your baby grows older. While some let go of the pacifier on their own, other may need help. As long as the baby is weaned off anytime between the age of two and four, it should be good.
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