No, it’s not about that Vin Diesel movie. An article in Times Online breaks the news that pacifiers (in the Queen’s Enlgish, ‘dummies’) can curb sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or ‘cot death’):
De-Kun Li, who led the team, said: “After adjusting for known risk factors, use of a dummy during sleep was associated with a 90 per cent reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) compared with infants who did not use a dummy.
“The reduced risk was consistent across a wide range of social and economic characteristics and risk factors examined.”
The protection seemed to be stronger when an infant was in a sleeping situation believed to be dangerous, such as sleeping face downwards or on the side, sleeping with a mother who smoked, or sleeping on soft bedding. But these differences were not deemed to be significant.
Dummies, he said, usually have a bulky external handle, which could make sure that air reaches the nose or mouth when the baby’s face is buried by bedclothes.
Sucking on a dummy might also help to develop the nerves that control the upper airway, he said.
To his credit, the reporter notes some drawbacks to pacifiers, including crooked teeth and delayed speech. Still sounds like a good trade-off, if the study is verified.
Flashback: RespiSense apnea buzzer for SIDS
More from the British Medical Journal