NATIONAL BABY SAFETY MONTH – ARE YOU HURTING YOUR BABY WITH WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING IN THEIR MOUTHS?
Everyone talks about “baby proofing” your house and new parents are very careful about the products and gear they select for their new babies, from safety concerns to researching companies and the latest recalls. However, one thing that tends to get overlooked are binkies (pacifiers) and teethers. They tend to be those great basinet gifts at baby showers that people toss in as an add on gift with no concern about who makes them or if they are they safe.
Some of the major concerns with pacifiers and teethers are BPA and Phthalate chemicals found in plastics, proper teeth and gum development, choking hazards, etc. The NTP (National Toxicology Program) reports that BPA is more likely to leach from worn plastic items―like a trusted pacifier.
Some of Dr. Greene’s tips and suggestions:
· Pay special attention to the plastics that go in the mouth, especially those used to store, heat, or serve food and drinks. Chemicals in the plastics can leach out and enter your child. Notice the recycling symbols on the bottoms of many plastics. Opt for symbols 1, 2, 4, or 5. Or choose brands like BornFree, where the entire line of toddler sippy cups, pacifiers, baby bottles and plastic water bottles are free from BPA, phthalates and PVC. Or skip plastic, and go with something like glass or stainless steel.
· Pacifiers come in different sizes to accommodate babies’ different sizes. Most newborns do best with pacifiers designed for newborns, and preemies with those designed for preemies.
· Pacifiers come in many shapes and sizes. Orthodontic pacifiers have been scientifically designed to support the shape of babies’ developing palates and jaws. The flattened shape not only simulates the shape of a mother’s nipple when flattened in the mouth, but also encourages the most natural sucking action to help proper oral development.
· The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry solidly prefers pacifiers to thumbs for meeting children’s sucking needs (because pacifiers are easier for parents to control). I think pacifiers and thumbs are both fine – but bottles should never be used as pacifiers (this can cause terrible tooth decay). Nor should pacifiers be used to say, “quiet down!” without words, or as replacements for noticing babies or their needs.
· Keep in mind that manufacturers are not required to label their products with materials used or recycling codes. If you find an unmarked product, be sure to contact the manufacturer to confirm.
· If parents are worried about plastic teething rings, they can fall back on the old standards of letting babies suck on cold, wet cloths or fabric teethers.
About Dr. Alan Greene
As a father of four himself, Dr. Greene has devoted himself to freely giving real answers to parents’ real questions — from questions about those all too common childhood conditions to those that address the most rare childhood illnesses. His answers combine cutting edge science, practical wisdom, warm empathy, and a deep respect for parents, children, and the environment. He is also an electrifying public speaker, and has personally touched many during his talks in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Dr. Greene is a regular columnist for Kiwi Magazine, and is the online Pediatric Expert for Healthy Kids, and American Baby — in addition to his own award-winning website. He is also the Pediatric Expert for The People’s Pharmacy (as heard on NPR) and Healing Quest (seen on PBS stations). He was the original Pediatric Expert for both Yahoo! and iVillage.
Dr. Greene is the author of Feeding Baby Green (Wiley, 2009), Raising Baby Green (Wiley, 2007), From First Kicks to First Steps (McGraw-Hill, 2004), The Parent’s Complete Guide to Ear Infections (People’s Medical Society, 1997), and a co-author of The A.D.A.M. Illustrated Family Health Guide (A.D.A.M., Inc., 2004). He is the medical expert for three additional books, The Parent’s Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your New Baby, (Contemporary Books, 1998) The Parent’s Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your Toddler, (Contemporary Books, 1999), and The Mother of All Baby Books, (Hungry Minds, Inc., 2002).
I am SUPER excited to try out these new pacifiers. My daughter Leah was a paci baby and I am going to try with this new baby too. I really like how there are so many different ones to choose from based on how baby likes them.
Born Free Pacifiers and Teethers can be found at a lot of retail stores near you, also check out their website www.newbornfree.com for more information