How Dirty is Your Baby's Pacifier

By Jan Sumsion

Many babies want them. Some babies need them. Most new mother’s worry about germs and try and keep them clean. However, your hard work may not pay off!

DIrty Pacifier
“I need to tell you what’s in this or on this (pacifier) that can make you sick,” said Tom Glass, DDS, PH.D, professor or forensic sciences, pathology and dental medicine at Oklahoma State University Health Sciences Center in Tulsa.

His team of researchers swiped the surface of the pacifiers from families chosen at random at a Tulsa wellness center. They could not believe the bacteria they found. Lab cultures produced Strep bacteria, various strains of staph, including staphylococcus aureus, plus bacteria that causes pneumonia.

The pacifier samples also produced Yeast that causes thrush. Even worse, the tests revealed mold. “The kind of mold that cause respiratory distress. Asthma-like symptoms,” said Glass. “We found bacteria we did not expect that, by nature of their very being, release poisons into the system.”

The type of organisms the study revealed, and the levels on the pacifiers, lead the doctor to believe binkies could make babies sick. “Persistent or reoccurring ear infections, persistent or recurring colic, all of those are the kinds of organisms found in or on the pacifier,” said Glass, “The baby’s colicky. What do we do? We put in the pacifier, which is supposed to make the baby less colicky. But in reality, is providing everything we need to make the colic persistent.”

During the 14-day period that a pacifier is in use, Glass recommends parents start the day with a baggy filled with clean pacifiers.

"Put them in the baggy and then take them with you," he said. "As the child drops it, and puts it down on surfaces that you know are contaminated, just take the pacifier away. Put it in the used pacifier bag, get a new one out and give it to the child."

At the end of just 2 weeks of use he suggests parents just toss them.

Read more the pacifier study here.