4 October 2000
If parents limited their child’s use of dummies, it could lead to a major reduction in the incidence of acute otitis media (an infection of the middle ear causing severe earache), according to a report in the September 2000 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The study in Finland tracked 484 children and evaluated the association between dummy use and the occurrence of middle ear infections.
The researchers found that children who did not use a dummy continuously, had 33 per cent fewer episodes of ear infection than those who did.
The study also found that when dummy use was restricted to when children were falling asleep, there was a 29 per cent reduction in the number of middle ear infections compared with children who sucked dummies freely.
Parents were advised that children younger than 6 months could use dummies without concern, because babies at this age have a strong need to suck.
However, for children over the age of 6 months, restricting the use of dummies to the moments when the child was falling asleep could help prevent episodes of middle ear infections.
Last Reviewed: 30 May 2002