By Jenna Morton
Our first child was not interested in a pacifier. It didn’t matter if we were trying to give it to her for comfort or for a cute photo-op – she was having none of it. So when our boys both decided to be pacifier aficionados, it was new territory. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Pacifiers have holes in the sides to prevent choking. One mom recently shared her experience with this on Facebook; the holes work, thankfully.
Pacifiers have a recommended age. Not just ‘you should stop before age 5’ suggestions: there are different sizes and levels of strength to the materials based on the baby’s age. Use the appropriate one: the size of the pacifier shield (the back part) changes to reduce choking risks, as does the strength of the material used.
Pacifiers should be replaced every two months, according to Health Canada. Don’t wait until you see wear and tear on the nipple; switch things up before you have a choking hazard. It is also suggested you check the pacifier every day for warning signs: changes in texture, tears, holes, loose pieces, etc. These changes can be caused by teeth, from certain foods, and exposure to heat or sunlight.
Silicone vs Latex. According to Consumer Reports, go for the silicone pacifiers. You should be safe to toss them in the top rack of the dishwasher (yay!), as well as avoiding risks associated with latex allergies. Latex pacifiers also deteriorate faster when heated.
Health Canada states that pacifiers should never be hung around your child’s neck. Any ribbon or ‘pacifier keeper’ or cord is also considered a strangulation hazard; these cords might be short enough not to wrap around a child’s neck, but they can still become caught on end table corners, cabinet drawers, and other areas.
Keep it clean. It might sound simple enough, but be sure no one is dipping your child’s pacifier into food and giving it to them. If it drops on the ground, it needs to be properly cleaned; don’t just lick the end yourself and hand it back. When you open a new package, be sure to sanitize the pacifier before use; the package should contain instructions, but putting it in an open pan of boiling water for two minutes is appropriate.
(And just a tip: two minutes is long enough. Try not to let the kiddos distract you and end up with a different safety issue!)