While dummies are designed to help comfort and settle children, they are also a potential hazard to infants and young toddlers.
This safety information has surfaced due to a recent incident that occurred in QLD where an 18 month old baby swallowed a dummy.
While this headline is quite baffling, it brings to light the importance of checking your child’s pacifier upon purchase and throughout use.
It isn’t surprising that poorly designed or manufactured dummies could become a choking hazard as children under three are susceptible to choking as they have not yet developed the reflex action to cough up objects that lodge in their throats. Cases of the teat or handle have been known to break off and become lodged in a child’s throat. Rarer, unfortunately, there have been cases of the whole dummy becoming stuck in a child’s mouth and blocking their air supply.
Apart from choking, there have been cases of strangulation (attaching dummy to child’s clothing via tie, ribbon or string) and receiving cuts and abrasions from dummies caused from falling over with dummy in the mouth.
Dummies are helpful to babies providing comfort when needed, so how can we prevent incidents involving dummies?
Initially on purchase it is important to look for a safe dummy. Select a dummy with a shield and ventilation holes to prevent suffocation if a baby manages to place the whole dummy in their mouth.
Throughout use, check the dummy before giving to child by pulling hard on the teat and tugging on the handle and ring to make sure they will not give way under pressure. Check teat for wear and tear- looks damaged, throw it away. Regularly sterilize or wash dummy in hot soapy water, rinse and air dry.
Lastly as far as possible, supervise your baby with their dummy. Never leave a baby with a dummy in their mouth if they cannot remove it on their own. It is imperative that if a child is using a dummy during sleep, that you are consistently checking on them to make sure their dummy isn’t obstructing their breathing or causing a hazard.