Dummy (pacifier) use and sudden infant death syndrome: potential advantages and disadvantages

Rosemary Sylvia Claire Horne, Fern R Hauck, Rachel Y Moon, Monique Pauline L'Hoir, Peter S Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The large decline in deaths due to the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the last 20 years in many countries is largely due to risk-reduction advice resulting from observational studies that examined the relationship between infant care practices and SIDS. Most of this advice remains largely uncontroversial and educators and researchers in this field are in agreement as to the specific recommendations that should be given to parents and health professionals. However, advice surrounding the apparent protective effect of dummies (also known as pacifiers) has been controversial. Several systematic reviews have demonstrated a strong association between the lack of a pacifier being used by the infant for the final sleep and SIDS, but it is not clear how pacifiers confer protection or if this is a marker for something as yet unmeasured. The Epidemiology and Physiology Working Groups of the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death (ISPID) are comprised of leading SIDS researchers with an objective to provide evidence-based position statements surrounding the factors associated with SIDS (http://www.ispid.org/) and risk-reduction strategies. The evidence, discussion and conclusions from these working groups regarding dummies (pacifiers) are described below to help inform this debate and describe the future evidence required so that we might find a common recommendation about dummies (pacifiers) and SIDS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170 - 174
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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