The Use of Pacifiers
The Use of Pacifiers
While some products are promoted and marketed to parents are being safe and harmless with the intention of getting the parents to buy, some are dangerous to health and wellbeing of the targeted market. The use of pacifiers, for instance, has generated a heated debate among parents and other stakeholders on their safety, with several studies done supporting the positions of both sides. The documented benefits of pacifiers are that they assist the infants to manage their feelings, remain composed, in addition to giving them a sense of safety. They provide infants with protection against such infections such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) while the negative consequences of their use range from complications related to breastfeeding, dental issues, to acute otitis media. Considering the debatable and controversial nature of the topic, both sides are examined.
There are several products that are marketed to parents with the promise they are beneficial to the process of development of babies or toddlers, with the aim of convincing the parents, caretakers or guardians to make a purchase. Such firms engage in active marketing and promotion that send an exaggerated, groundless or impractical claims concerning the positive effects the products have on the development of the child. One such product is the pacifiers, which are advertised through media platforms such as the television while highlighting the advantages they have on the babies. The intention of this assignment, therefore, is to preview the benefits connected with the application of the pacifiers against the adverse effects that could result from their use. The paper will conclude by pointing out, after considering the two sides, which while the use of pacifiers presents considerable significant advantages to the development of toddlers, those benefits are overshadowed by the possible negative repercussions.
It is documented that pacifiers have been in use since the start of 1000 B.C. Toddlers have a natural tendency to suck that encompasses non-nutritive sucking of fingers, thumbs, fists, bottles as well as pacifiers. Non-nutritive sucking is considered a normal among infants and sometimes begins in the womb. The incidence of NNS in a community is determined by ethnic and social-economic aspects and practices of taking care of children. The use of pacifiers is most prevalent in the West, ranging between 45 to 60 percent, together with sucking off the thumb/finger, ranging from 15 to 30 percent. Within the previous three decades, the use of pacifier has increased though there has been a drop in finger sucking. Sweden recorded an increase in the use of pacifier from 10 to 70 percent between 1950 and 1983 while finger sucking reduced from 50 to 20 percent (Genesee, 209)
Between the second and the third months of age, use of a pacifier is at its peak, and is mostly introduced within the first thirty days after birth. Male infants are more likely to use pacifiers, which has been associated with elongated periods of crying as a conceivable explanation. The use of pacifiers usually stops at the age of between two and four. There are several advantages associated with the use of pacifiers. They are discussed below.
The Benefits of Using Pacifiers
Considering that babies have an innate need to suck, the pacifiers are used to satisfy that sucking reflex. The usual alternatives to meet the desire is to use the bottle or breasts though the desire frequently lingers even after the babies are full. While a pacifier can be helpful, the parents need to ensure it does not replace mealtime. Additionally, pacifiers are useful in assisting children manage their feelings, remain calm and give them the sense of safety.
In a research conducted by Marchman, Fernald and Hurtado (2010), pacifiers provide toddlers with protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They established that there were substantially fewer infant deaths resulting from SIDS among users of pacifiers. The study estimated that the odds proportion of the use of pacifier ranged between 0.27 and 0.59, representing 1.5 to 4 times reduced probability (Marchman, Fernald, and Hurtado, 21). A research done in the Netherlands revealed that the introduction of pacifier significantly reduces the incidence of SIDS, without taking into consideration different threat dynamics, for instance, horizontal napping, and comfortable bedding. Another case-control research carried out in the Netherlands established that the habit of using pacifier had a prevent effect with probabilities proportion of 0.05. A population-oriented case-control research done between 1993 and 1996 in Chicago confirmed the existence of a reduced reduced risk resulting from the habit of using a pacifier. Additionally, a meta-analysis published by Rescorla (2005) researched if there was a positive relationship between the habit of using a pacifier and its defensive objective as far as SIDS is concerned. After the meta-analysis, the researcher came to the conclusion of the existence of a positive relationship between the uses of the product on babies and decreased the possibility of contracting SIDS (Rescorla, 125).
The Concerns Associated with Pacifier
Before making a recommendation based on the ability of the products to decrease the danger of SIDS and consequently promote its use, it is paramount to assess the risks associated with their use. According to research, the habit of using pacifiers has been associated with a reduction in the proportions and length of breastfeeding, augmented the possibility of developing acute otitis media in addition to dental complications.
The habit of using pacifiers has further been discouraged especially by professionals in field fearing that the practice can affect breastfeeding, by significantly reducing the period of the process prior to the weaning of infants and that the habit leads to a significant reduction in the time it takes for breastfeeding to begin. Theories such as nipple confusion and a decline in sucking period have been used to explain why pacifier usage has an effect on breastfeeding. There is a reduction in the supply of milk in the breasts when sucking period is reduced, which could lead to earlier weaning. Physiology does not offer any evidence whether infants really encounter nipple confusion, leading to the conclusion the application of the products leads to a reduction in the period of sucking. Another group that uses pacifiers that have drawn research interest is preterm toddlers. Considering that members of staff in hospitals and parent try to comfort distressed toddlers by using pacifiers, researchers are concerned that such use could interfere with breastfeeding among preterm toddlers. An earlier examination has shown that the reliance on the products by preterm toddlers led to brief stays at the hospital and did not affect breastfeeding negatively. A randomized measured experiment also established no consequence on breastfeeding by infants who relied on a pacifier.
It is recognized dental complication could arise from the use of habit of using pacifiers and the sucking of limbs and nails. There is a connection relating to the practice of using pacifier and sucking of fingers/thumbs and the development of subsequent horizontal cross-bite though it disappears at the age of nine. A survey conducted in Greece on 5-year-olds revealed that only about 4 percent were pacifier users while eighty percent were continuing to put their thumbs in their mouths. The conclusion of the authors was that though pacifiers prevent children from sucking their fingers, it posed more harm to their dentition compared to pacifiers. The Paediatric Dentists agency in the United States recommends to parents that while all types of NNs have similar effects on the teeth, toddlers find it stress-free to stop using pacifiers than to stop sucking their fingers. The body suggests NNS poses no challenges except when it endures after the kid has developed permanent teeth (Özçalskan and Goldin-Meadow, 31).
Acute Otitis Media
According to research studies, there is a relationship between the practice of using the products and the development of the adverse and life-threatening infection abbreviated as AOM. Symptoms synonymous with AOM are restlessness at night, a lack of appetite, vomiting, aching of the ears and cough. There is a close relationship between AOM and viral respiratory diseases. Prevalence is highest among toddlers below the age of two, which peaks between six and twelve months. AOM is associated with such risk factors as child care attendance, older siblings, exposure to tobacco smoke from the environment, feeding the bottle and the use of pacifiers. The main risk factors are child care presence and having an older sibling. Researchers have established that breastfeeding offers protection against AOM, and the prevalence of AOM is lower by 50 percent among infants who breastfeed for at least sixteen weeks. The other factor that offers protection against AOM is supine sleep position (Berglund, Eriksson, and Westerlund, 95).
In conclusion, the debate on whether or not infants should use pacifiers quite controversial and several parents make the decision individually. While there is general agreement amongst several experts on the fact that a connection exists concerning the practice of using pacifiers and the development of such complications as otitis media, premature deterring, and complications associated with dentition, it is still not clear on the characteristics of the connection together with the extent of the adverse effect. The habit of using is able to offer protection and safety from SIDS, a positive impact that is quite significant, and undeniably, there is a need for additional research to validate the claim. While there is a lack of substantial proof making it difficult to either support or oppose the use of pacifiers, those who decide to use them are advised to be selective and cautious in their use. However, by the pointed out above, the use of pacifiers could present significant health challenges to the development of infant in later life. Therefore, pacifiers are one example of several products that are marketed to parents with the promise that they are beneficial to the process of development of babies or toddlers, with the aim of convincing the parents, caretakers or guardians to make a purchase. Such firms engage in active marketing and promotion that send an exaggerated, groundless or impractical claims concerning the positive effects the products have on the development of the child.
Berglund, Eriksson M., and Westerlund M. Communicative skills in relation to gender, birth order, childcare and socioeconomic status in 18-month-old children. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 46, 485-491. 2005. Print.
Choudhury, N., & Benasich, A. A family aggregation study: the influence of family history and other risk factors on language development. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46(2) 261. 2013. Print.
Genesee, F. Early childhood bilingualism: Perils and possibilities. Journal of Applied Research on Learning, Vol. 2, Special Issue, Article 2. 2009. Print.
Marchman, V., Fernald, A., & Hurtado, N. How vocabulary size in two languages relates to efficiency in spoken word recognition by young Spanish-English bilinguals. J. Child Lang., 37, 817-840. 2010. Print.
Özçalskan, S., & Goldin-Meadow, S. Sex differences in language first appear in gesture. Developmental Science, 13(5), 752-760. 2010. Print.
Rescorla, L. Age 13 Language and Reading Outcomes in Late-Talking Toddlers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48(2): 459-472. 2005. Print
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