has been a huge effort made to try to eliminate “crib death”.
Once it was realized that sleep position made a difference, the American
Academy of Pediatrics began to advise parents to let their babies sleep
on their backs or sides on firm mattresses with no quilts, pillows, soft
toys or bumpers. This advice has greatly reduced the number of crib deaths
all over the world.
Further studies have shown other factors that have statistical relevance.
Back sleeping is safer than side sleeping. Sleeping in the same bed with
the infant, especially on a couch was shown to increase the risk of this
Recently, a large survey was published that included among the questions,
“Did your baby ever use a pacifier?” When the researchers
looked at the statistics they were shocked to find that the percentage
of crib deaths in the babies that were pacifier users was nearly zero!
Even in the ones who only sucked for a few minutes a day.
No one is sure why pacifiers protect from crib death, but The American
Academy of Pediatrics immediately published an advisory statement to encourage
people to give their infant pacifiers.
Because there is a concern about nipple confusion they are now suggesting
that pacifiers be given after breastfeeding is established. They say that
even a few minutes of sucking a day seems to be worthwhile (if the baby
refuses, it is not recommended to try to force him).
As for the problems that pacifiers cause, everyone knows that as the child
gets older, pacifier time should be limited to “down time”.
Crib deaths are only a problem in infants, so stopping pacifier use as
the baby gets older is a good idea. Speech problems, drooling, and dental
problems can be avoided by eliminating the pacifier totally before four
years of age.