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). However, for maximum safety use the following tips when giving your baby a pacifier:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Never tie a pacifier to your child’s crib or around your child’s neck or hand. This is very dangerous and could cause serious injury or even death.
- Pacifiers deteriorate over time. Inspect them periodically to see whether the rubber is discolored or torn. If so, replace them. In addition, follow the recommended age range on the pacifier, as older children can sometimes fit an entire newborn pacifier in their mouth and choke.