Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Use of a dummy (pacifier) during sleep and risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): population based case-control study

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:18

Rapid Response:

Concerned re- this research

I am concerned how the general public might react to the publication
of this piece of research.

It may have found that pacifiers reduce the risk of cot death in this
very small study. But the fact that it is a very small study should have
been emphasised more.

This may induce parents who are concerned about SIDS(Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome) to buy and use a pacifier even if they had not thought
about this already.
This will impact on long term breastfeeding rates which has a much higher
impact on long term health benefits of babies and their mothers.

It may also induce families who smoke and who don't ensure their
babies sleep on their backs that using a pacifier will somehow protect
their child in adverse circumstances.

I feel this research should have been published with some additional
information on how the public should react. The BBC Breakfast show
actually had a reporter supporting pacifier use as a result of this study.
As we all know such a small study cannot be held as evidence to change
practice so radically.

I believe the BMJ has a responsibility to assist reporters in their
understanding of research and it's use. Not once is it stated that a much
larger prospective study would have to be done before a change of
behaviour is advocated.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 December 2005
Helen Young
Practice Development Midwife
Weston Area Health Trust