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A pacifier is a plastic or rubber device for a baby to chew or suck on. Babies often need to suck for satisfaction rather than for food.
Most babies don't need as much sucking time by about 6 months of age. It's pretty easy to take the pacifier away from your baby at that age, before your baby gets too accustomed to using it for comfort. You can give your baby a blanket or toy for comfort instead.
Pacifiers can be a source of injury if they are not used as intended or if the wrong size is given to a child. A child can choke on a pacifier that's too small for his or her mouth. A pacifier can be dangerous to a child if it is attached to a string that may get tangled around the baby's neck. And an unsteady toddler who walks or runs with a pacifier in his or her mouth is at risk for mouth and face injuries.
Long-term use of a pacifier may cause permanent teeth to come in crooked or to get out of alignment as your child gets older.
Current as of: September 9, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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