My feed

to access all these features


Dummies and Cot death

169 replies

GingerBearingGifts · 09/12/2005 08:25

BBC Breakfast - report says that they reduce the risk of SIDS. But also that if you give a baby a dummy, not to take it away again as the risk increases more than for a baby who hasn't had a dummy.
So do we maintain a nightly vigil over the crib to ensure the dummy doesn't fall out?
And what about babies like mine who rejected a dummy outight?

OP posts:
gothicsanta · 09/12/2005 08:35

The report alludes to dummy providing protection in at risk households ie smokers, if you follow guidelines already in Uk ie feet to foot according to report risk is minimised anyway - remember it is an american study

MerryMegandSnowySoph · 09/12/2005 09:10

scaremongering again IMO!!

mumfor1sttime · 09/12/2005 09:11

What rubbish

Annner · 09/12/2005 09:16

Surely the dummy is only compensating for what other studies have demonstrated to prevent sleep apnoea in the first place: waking up regularly in the night to feed, and sleeping in the same room as their parents?

In other words, if you are following recommended guidelines your baby at lower risk anyway?

Before there is a rush to buy dummies (each to their own - but they would not have worked for us), surely the greatly increased risk when it falls out and the fact that this study is (a) small and (b) pointing towards the benefit only showing in houses where the baby is at greater risk (eg two smokers) suggest that we should take this with a very very large pinch of salt?

I still think that the disadvantages of dummies will outweigh this possible advantage for most people who aren't using them anyway. Those who are will find that they have a new riposte for people like us who don't like them!


Annner · 09/12/2005 09:23

Here is the BBC link.

Annner · 09/12/2005 09:25

Or even here

thecattleareALOHing · 09/12/2005 09:29

This is not just "one small study". Numerous studies have shown the same or similar results. And it does not just cut risk where the baby is at high risk - it cuts risk accross the board.
My son used a dummy until very recently and really needed it, my daughter has never had one btw.

I am quoting this from the net: "Several studies have found a 50% to 70% reduction in the risk of SIDS, and one recent report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that pacifiers reduce risk by as much as 90%. Experts estimate that one SIDS death could be prevented for every 2,733 infants who use a pacifier when placed for sleep.

No one completely understands why pacifiers seem to have this protective effect.

Some evidence suggests that infants who frequently use a pacifier are more readily aroused from sleep ? and that this heightened alertness may protect them from life-threatening challenges. Children who die of SIDS may simply sleep through such problems as getting their nose and mouth covered by bedding.

Pacifiers also might enhance an infant's ability to breathe through the mouth if the nasal airway becomes blocked and might reduce the likelihood of airway obstruction by changing the position of the tongue.

In November, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that all parents consider offering a pacifier to their infants at nap time and bedtime throughout their first year."

AwayInAMunker · 09/12/2005 09:36

Does it make a difference if the baby sucks their fingers or thumb, I wonder? DS never had a dummy (I bought some, but never needed to use them - I don't like them for daytime toddler-wear, but for babies going to sleep, no probs) but found his fingers early on and still sucks them at 20mo.

Annner · 09/12/2005 09:39

But why? (rhetorical question for discussion!!!)

I'd need to have more of an explanation before using one. After all, we can all see the logical explanation in other guidelines, but this one just seems to be "just take our word for it and go out and buy one of these (to me, revolting) things". Feet to foot, not smoking, rooming in, night feeds: they all have a clear logic, but I'm afraid the "it has a large bulb on the end" just doesn't go far enough for me as an explanation.

I mean, and this is a genuine question, what did we do in past centuries to prevent our babies from dying suddenly? We didn't have SIDS then, at least, not in the proportions we reached here on the 70s and 80s, and we didn't have a huge range of dummies to choose from. Other cultures in the world don't have dummies and they don't have SIDS. I'm misquoting Deborah Jackson, but most non-westernised cultures only started developing SIDS when they adopted more western child rearing practices.

Are we using more of the same to combat what we started in the first place?

I'm genuinely confused and interested here, by the way: I know that lots of people swear by dummies, and who knows what my next child will need, but they are such a personal thing, and I really hate the suggestion made by the study's authors that we should all use something that definitely has real disadvantages as well as this advantage, without further justification.

Annner · 09/12/2005 09:41

I was also wondering about the sucking: can't remember where I read it, though.

DD sucks her tiger's ear. Mmmmmmmm; nice smell!


SackAche · 09/12/2005 09:42


Curmudgeonlett · 09/12/2005 09:46

I find it amusing that my natural abhorrence for dummies wants me to reject these studies outright as total bunkum and scream but I'm right. Whilst my head is going bugger you got that bit wrong

Enideepmidwinter · 09/12/2005 09:48

so why don't all babies that dont have a dummy/suck their thumb die of cot death?

2manyglassesofmulledwine · 09/12/2005 10:00

Am reading the BMJ article as we speak, and it does say that thumb sucking also reduces risk, though not by as much as dummies. Hold on, will try and get \link{}

foundintransleightion · 09/12/2005 10:01

ds is 6.5 months. Right at the beginning, we tried a dummy a couple of times, but he always spat it out. He is a 'bad' and light sleeper and needs feeding several times at night, which I'm happy to do (partly becuase dh will get up and help him settle ), and although his bad sleeping does annoy me it hasn't occurred to try a dummy again. He seems to need the bodily contact with me or dh, so although we've put him in his cot recently after having him in a small bedside cot until now, he'll end up in our bed for at least part of the night, which I'm not entirely happy about for safety reasons as we have a 1.40m bed. Because he is so easily aroused (I think he takes after me in this respect) and we follow all other guidelines religiously - no smoking, no overheating, back to sleep etc. - I'm not too concerned about his SIDS risk, but this has made me wonder about tryng a dummy again. What does anyone think? FWIW I can actually see how a dummy might reduce the risk, but am unsure how relevant it is in our particular case.

SackAche · 09/12/2005 10:01

Enid - lol.... what a silly statement! Why don't all babies that sleep on their front die of cotdeath????

Its all about reducing risk isn't it?

aelita · 09/12/2005 10:02

When I see the latest piece of medical research in the press I always wonder who funded it...

2manyglassesofmulledwine · 09/12/2005 10:02

Balls, that didn't work did it?
try this

MistleToo · 09/12/2005 10:03

Enid - in the same way that all babies laid to sleep on their bellies (my 3) didn't die of cot death either!

thecattleareALOHing · 09/12/2005 10:11

Anner, there are numerous theories about why it works in my post below.
It is likely to be a combination of several factors. In previous centuries and in developing countries rates of infant death are much higher than in the developed world I imagine that makes SID less easy to identify and, indeed less of a problem, compared to all the disease that kills babies. When your children are being picked off by malaria you probably don't worry as much about sids. But babies have always died. Often suddenly.

thecattleareALOHing · 09/12/2005 10:14

Aelita, do you honestly think all this research, all these studies were all funded by the manufacturers of dummies? HOnestly? Because you are not just wrong, but frankly, I do think it's rather insulting to some of the most influential figures in child health around the world and the hospitals they work it to assume they are willing to play around with babies' lives to please the manufacturers of dummies.

pablopatito · 09/12/2005 10:18

Can someone explain to me why they say that if you use a dummy, and then have a night without it, there is actaully a greater risk of cot death than if you never used one? I don't get it.

Also, does that imply that if the dummy falls out during the night, there is also a greater risk of cot death.

DS uses a dummy to fall asleep but it always falls out of his mouth fairly soon after he is asleep. The media reports seem to suggest that DS may therefore be under a greater than average risk of cot death. One more thing for me to worry about!

JingleShells · 09/12/2005 10:21

I'd still prefer not to use one. Esp. if the risk goes up if you do use them then one night don't? Surely best then to just not use them in the first place?

thecattleareALOHing · 09/12/2005 10:24

The new study and the major study of studies (iyswim) do not show that effect, which may even be a statistical blip in one or maybe two of many studies. The American Academy of Paediatrics would not so strongly recommend dummy use if it believed this to be the case. The AAP also say specifically that you should not either force a dummy on a baby that does not want one, or replace it if it falls out in the night.

2manyglassesofmulledwine · 09/12/2005 10:24

aelita - it's funded by the NICHD and NIDCD - no drug companies or dummy manufacturers in sight!!
I was hoping for the article to be a pile of complete rubbish but, on a quick scan through at least, it actually isn't that apallingly designed. There are a few flaws, though. For example it says:
"In our study population, the incidence of use of dummies among populations at high risk of SIDS (African-Americans, young mothers, women with less than a college education, or low income) was comparable with that among those at lower risk of SIDS."

hmmmm, if a dummy really reduced the incidence of SIDS so much, then why is the use of dummies not lower in high risk groups?

Also, my stats aren't great, but the odds ratios aren't exactly massive are they?? Perhaps someone with good stats can explain better.... Frightening stuff though.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.