Every parent knows about the calming and soothing power that sucking on a pacifier gives, especially at bedtime. While pacifiers are perfectly safe for babies to sleep with, a more recent addition to the baby market are pacifier clips. Because they are meant to be used with pacifiers, you may wonder if it is safe for your baby to sleep with a pacifier clip.
Pacifier clips are not safe for babies to sleep with. When putting your baby to sleep, safety is always the number one priority. This means that your baby’s sleep area should be empty, apart from a firm mattress, a fitted sheet, and of course, your baby.
This article will explain what a pacifier clip is and how it is used, as well as some important factors that should be considered in deciding when and how to use a pacifier clip safely.
What Are Pacifier Clips?
A pacifier clip is basically a cord or a fabric strip that tethers a pacifier to your baby’s person. One end has a plastic or metal clip that attaches to your baby’s shirt while the other end holds the pacifier tied in a loop of string.
The idea behind using one is to prevent the pacifier from falling out of your baby’s reach and save parents from having to retrieve it when it drops out of their mouth.
They can be very useful for babies who like to drop their pacifiers or throw them on the ground, as it keeps the pacifier within the baby’s reach at all times.
To use one, simply put the looped end through the pacifier handle and pull the rest of the cord through the loop. This secures the pacifier in a slip knot. Clip the other end onto your baby’s shirt and you are good to go!
Are Pacifier Clips Safe to Sleep With?
A pacifier clip can be a safe and helpful tool to keep a pacifier within your baby’s reach only while they are awake and active. Pacifier clips are not safe and should never be used during sleep times, as the cord can easily become a strangulation hazard.
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies are put to sleep on their back, alone on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and nothing else. Soft items such as crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, and soft toys should not be placed in the sleep space until your baby is at least 12 months old.
On the other hand, it is safe to leave your baby with a pacifier in their mouth when you put them down at night or during a nap. In fact, pacifiers are known to reduce SIDS risk in the first 12 months of life.
Sucking on a pacifier works to calm babies down by reducing stress, lowering their heart rate and blood pressure. Feel free to offer your baby a pacifier at night and during nap time, as long as it is not attached to a pacifier clip.
Even though pacifier clips are not safe to sleep with, there are other options for you if your baby loses their pacifiers at night. Try “sprinkling” a few pacifiers around their sleep space before putting them down. This increases the chances of your baby finding a new pacifier to replace the dropped one on their own.
The cord on a pacifier clip can easily become a choking and strangulation hazard at sleeping times, particularly since the cord is typically clipped onto a baby’s clothes very near to their neck area.
For awake use, pacifier clips should have a cord length of 7 inches or less to reduce the risk of strangling.
Some pacifier clips have silicone parts or beads that allow it to double as a teether. Small detachable pieces like beads can easily turn into choking hazards if swallowed, especially if chewed or sucked on by a teething baby.
When choosing a pacifier clip, make sure that all parts (clothing clip, pacifier loop, cord, beads, etc.) are secure and cannot be removed or detached, even by a very determined baby.
This consideration also applies to the actual pacifier going into your baby’s mouth. Pacifiers made with one solid piece are preferable to those made with 2 or more pieces that could fall apart and become choking hazards.
For the same reasons that they should not have detachable pieces, pacifier clips need to be made of non-toxic, baby-safe materials such as food-grade silicone, rubber, or wood that meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Pacifier clips also need to withstand daily, possibly rough use. Ones with stainless steel clothing clips will be more durable than plastic and less likely to rust compared to other metal materials.
Pacifier clips that are too heavy can weigh down the shirt fabric around a baby’s neck and become uncomfortable. Cotton and nylon are the most lightweight materials that still offer a decent level of durability. Cords with silicon or wooden beads may be heavier, but can double as teething toys.
While the number of pacifier clips you have is entirely up to you, having at least 2 will allow you to switch them out for cleaning especially if it is being used as a teether. Having a spare also ensures that you can quickly replace pacifier clips that start showing signs of wear and tear.
Some parents also get pacifier clips in different colors and styles to coordinate with their baby’s outfits. You might also get pacifier clips made with different baby-safe materials to see what your baby likes best.
Does My Baby Need a Pacifier Clip?
The baby market is full of gadgets and tools that claim to make life with a baby easier for parents, and it is easy to lose track of what babies actually need and what items are just extra frills.
At the same time, there is nothing wrong with splurging on a few baby gadgets and gizmos here and there, like a fancy white noise machine or a wipes warmer. They can be fun to have, and they may make parenting just that much easier and more enjoyable.
Of course, what comes in handy and what does not is subjective to the experience of each parent and their baby. If your baby drops or loses their pacifiers often, then pacifier clip can be a very useful thing to have around. Otherwise, you might not really need them.