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.
Check out these suggestions from Dr. Greene to keep your baby safe:
· 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.