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An Esp Pediatr. 2000 Dec;53(6):580-5.

[Pacifier use: risks and benefits].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad Integrada de Pediatría Hospital Sant Joan de DéuHospital Clínic. Universidad de Barcelona.


The use of a dummy as a comforting object in childhood is widespread in civilized societies. The advisability of this practice, as well as the shape, material, or time of use of these objects, is controversial. Data on the possible beneficial effects of these objects are numerous, but there is also a long list of disorders which have been associated with their use. Their soothing effect is the most widely recognized beneficial effect and the possible relationship with a lower incidence of sudden infant death syndrome is the newest. The most important risks of this nonnutritive sucking habit are failure of breastfeeding, dental deformities, recurrent acute otitis media, and the risk of accidents. The development of latex allergy, tooth decay, oral ulcers and sleep disorders are other possible problems. The association with a lower intelligence quotient is disputed. Insufficient data are provided by a review of the pros and the cons of dummy use to encourage or discourage this habit. However, there are sufficient data on which to base firm recommendations such as not starting their use in the first days of life, restricting use after the age of 8 months and withdrawing these objects at the age of 1 year. Pediatricians should be aware of and recommend only dummies that meet safety requirements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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