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J Pediatr. 2000 Jun;136(6):775-9.

The influence of a pacifier on infants' arousals from sleep.

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Pediatric Sleep Unit, University Children's Hospital of Brussels and the Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Free University of Brussels, Belgium.



The risk of sudden infant death during sleep was postulated to decrease with the use of a pacifier and by conditions facilitating arousals from sleep. We evaluated the influence of a pacifier on arousal from sleep in healthy infants.


Fifty-six healthy infants were studied with polygraphy during 1 night; 36 infants used a pacifier regularly during sleep, and 20 never used a pacifier. Thumb users or occasional pacifier users were not included in the study. The infants were recorded at a median age of 10 weeks (range 6 to 19 weeks). To evaluate auditory arousal thresholds, the infants were exposed to white noise of increasing intensity during rapid eye movement sleep.


Polygraphic arousals occurred at significantly lower auditory stimuli in pacifier users than in nonusers (P =.010). Compared with nonusers, pacifier users were more frequently bottle-fed than breast-fed (P =. 036). Among infants sleeping without a pacifier, breast-fed infants had lower auditory thresholds than bottle-fed infants (P =.049).


Infants using pacifiers during sleep had lower auditory arousal thresholds than those who did not use a pacifier during sleep. Breast-feeding could be a further factor contributing to lower arousal thresholds. These findings could be relevant to the occurrence of sudden infant deaths during sleep.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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