Pacifiers May Protect Babies From SIDS
Pacifier Use Also Advised by American Academy of Pediatrics
Dec. 8, 2005 -- Sleeping with a pacifier may help prevent SIDS (sudden
infant death syndrome).
The finding appears in BMJ Online First. It comes about two months
after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended pacifier use as one of its
SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant who is less than 1 year
old, with no explanation for the baby's death after a thorough
The new study was done in California. It included the mothers of 185 babies
whose deaths had been attributed to SIDS, as well as the moms of 312 randomly
chosen healthy babies.
The healthy babies had similar backgrounds to those who had died of SIDS,
write the researchers. They included De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, MPH. Li is a senior
research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
The mothers of children who died of SIDS were interviewed by staff trained
in SIDS-related grief counseling. They were asked about their late child's last
sleep. Mothers of healthy children were asked how their babies slept the night
before the interview.
Pacifier Use, Sleep Setting
Questions included pacifier use, sleep position, and the conditions in which
the baby slept.
For instance, the researchers wanted to know if the babies had slept on
their sides or stomachs, with soft bedding (such as blankets), or in the beds
of mothers who smoked.
The AAP recommends against sharing a bed with a baby or exposing babies to
Babies should be put to sleep on their backs on a firm sleep surface without
soft objects and loose bedding, and they should be offered a pacifier,
according to the AAP's new guidelines.
Those guidelines weren't out when the SIDS deaths in Li's study occurred.
However, putting babies to sleep on their backs has been recommended for years.
That advice is credited with a drop in SIDS deaths, writes Li.
Fewer SIDS Deaths With Pacifiers
Babies who died of SIDS were less likely to have had a pacifier during their
last sleep, even if they slept in less-than-ideal positions or settings, the
They note that their findings and those from other studies support the idea
that pacifiers help prevent SIDS.
But Li and colleagues stress that those results don't prove that pacifiers
prevent SIDS by themselves.