Does Dummy Use Reduce the Risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy?

  • There is strong evidence that dummies are associated with a reduced risk of sudden infant death when used consistently.
  • Mechanisms that provide this protection are not understood and pacifier use may possibly be a marker from something else, as yet not identified.
  • Dummy use is associated with advantages including a reduced risk of sudden infant death, and effective infant settling.
  • Dummy use is associated with disadvantages including a potential negative impact on breastfeeding, and a higher incidence of respiratory, ear and gastrointestinal infections, accidents and dental malocclusion.
  • In some countries, dummy use is promoted as a SIDS risk reduction strategy.
  • In other countries dummy use is not actively discouraged, but is not advocated as a risk reduction strategy.
  • Sleeping a baby on the back, with face uncovered, and in a smoke free environment is the best way to protect a baby from sudden and unexpected infant death.

For further in depth information on this topic, see our Red Nose Information Statement Using a Dummy or Pacifier.

Last modified: 12/10/16

View other articles by