Pacifiers May Protect Against SIDS

Until babies are about age 1, they are at a high risk for SIDS. To help lower your newborn’s risk for this leading cause of death, you may want to consider giving him or her a pacifier at sleep time.

A review of studies published on pacifiers and their effect on SIDS provided strong evidence about what had been reported for a long time. Why do pacifiers have such a positive influence? The reason is unclear. It may be because babies don’t sleep as deeply when they have a pacifier, which helps wake them up if they’re having trouble breathing. A pacifier also keeps the tongue forward in the mouth, so it can’t block the airway.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does recommend parents give pacifiers at naps and bedtime because they can help protect against SIDS. But experts also stress using pacifiers safely to avoid any possible negative effects. If you’re breastfeeding, wait until your baby is 1 month to introduce a pacifier to prevent feeding problems. And remember to clean pacifiers regularly to protect your newborn from infection.

Online Medical Reviewer: Desrosiers, Florence MD

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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