As many sleep-deprived parent have discovered, a pacifier can be a life-saver when it calms a fussy baby.
However, as Kacie McFadden learned, a baby soother can quickly become a serious hazard.
As WTVD News reports, Kacie’s son, Ryder, was only two months old when Kacie had a frightening close call involving her little boy’s MAM pacifier.
“He was gurgling and I ran in the room and I found the pacifier had broken off,” she said, distraught at the memory. “It was lodged in his throat and he was turning colors.”
The worried mother tried desperately to get the pacifier out of her son’s mouth so he could breathe again, but the silicon nipple had completely detached from the base and gotten stuck in Ryder’s throat. It was only after Kacie performed the Heimlich maneuver on her baby that she was able to get the broken binky out again.
Realizing how close her son came to dying from a faulty pacifier, Kacie wrote to the company that made it, explaining what happened. In a reply, MAM noted that what she described was rare — especially for a new pacifier — and asked that Kacie send them the broken pacifier so that they could perform tests on it.
Kacie didn’t send back the broken pacifier, but she did use the new pacifiers that MAM had sent in an apology, only to have the same thing happen again two months later.
“He was… trying to get something out of his throat and I realized the piece of the pacifier was sitting on his stomach,” Kacie told WTVD.
This time, Kacie was done with the brand for good, but a bit of research shows that the problem is not confined to Kacie’s experience or even just the MAM brand.
The Consumer Protection Safety Commission website, SaferProducts.gov, lists page upon page of complaints and recalls associated with pacifiers and pacifier accessories. The simple fact is that many pacifiers have the potential to become choking hazards if parents are not aware of the rules of safe pacifier use.
According to Babycenter, when choosing a pacifier for your child, it is important to:
- Choose one that is correct size for his or her age.
- Choose a sturdy pacifier that cannot come apart, and which has a ventilated shield at least one-and-a-half inches in diameter. Pacifiers that are molded in one piece are best.
- Before each use, carefully inspect the pacifier for any signs of wear, including discoloration, holes, tears, weak spots, or stickiness.
- Replace your baby’s pacifiers regularly.
As Kacie found out, a baby doesn’t need to have teeth to be able to damage a pacifier, and there’s no hard and fast rule that lets parents know when a pacifier needs to be retired. Given that a well-used pacifier can get worn and gross fairly quickly, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
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