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Pacifiers and ear infections.

If your tot has recurrent ear infections, maybe you should consider if he uses a pacifier. A study published in Family Practice found that children in The Netherlands age birth to age four who used pacifiers were 30% more likely to have at least one incident of acute otitis media (AOM) and almost twice as likely to have recurrent AOM as the group of same-aged children that did not use pacifiers.

Physicians aren't sure why pacifier use may lead to higher incidence of AOM, but two prevailing theories are that sucking on a pacifier can increase the nasal secretions into the middle ear, and that it could change the child's dental structure, which would affect the Eustachian tube.

Lead researcher Maroeska M. Rovers of University Medical Center in The Netherlands and her colleagues concluded that pediatricians should recommend to parents that children who have experienced one incident of AOM stop using the pacifier to reduce the risk of experiencing more ear infections.

Family Practice, 6/08

By Michael K. Meyerhoff, EdD

Michael K. Meyerhoff, EdD, is executive director of The Epicenter Inc., "The Education for Parenthood Information Center," a family advisory and advocacy agency located in Lindenhurst, Illinois. He may be contacted via e-mail at

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Publication:Pediatrics for Parents
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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