Here's another reason not to feel guilty about Binkies: "About five recent studies have shown that pacifiers appear to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)," notes John Kattwinkel, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on SIDS, adding that experts are still not sure why. The use of a pacifier during sleep might improve the level of arousal or the state of a baby's airway, Dr. Kattwinkel hypothesizes.
The AAP is considering changing its policy to recommend pacifier use at bedtime during the SIDS high-risk period of 2 to 4 months of age. In the meantime, skip the guilt about popping in a paci and follow these other important SIDS-prevention guidelines:
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back.
- Use firm, flat bedding -- no fluffy comforters, pillows, or quilts. Choose a one-piece sleeper rather than a blanket to keep your baby warm.
- Don't overheat your baby's room (68°F to 72°F is recommended).
- Never smoke or allow people to smoke around your baby.