Legal Articles

May 18, 2013

Sucking your child’s pacifier has hidden benefits

As a general rule, over the years, health officials have counseled parents and guardians against sharing utensils with their babies. This warning was encouraged by the assumption that sharing your adult germs with your babies is bad because it exposes them to diseases their immature immune systems can’t fight off.

Allergies, eczema, and asthma prevention

New evidence, however, suggests that sharing germs might not be such a bad idea after all. In a study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, researches reported that “infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them.” In addition, fewer instances of eczema and asthma were found.

Cause and effect not found

This new study adds further evidence to the theory that shielding your children from all contamination while they’re little actually doesn’t allow their bodies to learn to fight off bacteria as effectively as they should. However, the study could not prove a cause and effect relationship between sucking on the pacifier and a decreased incidence of allergies. Further research must be done into other factors that parents who suck on the binkies might share.

Parents may have less sterilized environments

Dr. William Shaffner, an infectious diseases expert, said, “It’s a very interesting study that adds to this idea that a certain kind of interaction with the microbial environment is actually a good thing for infants and children. I wonder if the parents that cleaned the pacifiers orally were just more accepting of the old saying that you’ve got to eat a peck of dirt.” He hypothesized that these parents might also have less “disinfected” homes.


Site design and development by Design Spike®, Inc.