Pacifier Aggression

Hi Readers — Boy, your letters keep blowing me away. Here’s another one that made me think — and fume.  It reminds me of a great essay by Spiked Online contributor Nancy McDermott (Spiked is sort of Britain’s Slate) about how this generation of parents treats every childrearing decision as a Nobel-worthy research project. McDermott calls it the “tyranny of scientific parenting.” I’m sure it’ll sound familiar to any of us who’ve ever said, “Aw, let’s not sweat it. ” Read on!

Dear FRK: I am a first time mom of a four month old son.  I wouldn’t think of raising him to be anything other than a Free-Range Kid.  I find my parental philosophy differs greatly from the other moms in our baby group.  When my son drops his pacifier, I dust it off and put it back in.  I figure he’ll be crawling around and shoving everything he can get his hands on right in his mouth in a few more months anyway.  Besides, whatever happened to the five second rule?  You’d think I was purposely trying to kill him by giving him back the pacifier.  If you think I’m exaggerating, read this transcript from one mom’s facebook page:

“From what I’ve heard you should try to keep the binkie as sterile as possible. They can be real transmitters of diseases to infants… [Use] hot water if you got nothing else, but mostly keep that thing sanitized…especially if you’ve been out in public. Scenario: you’re walking down the beach boardwalk, your child takes the pacifier out of her mouth. A passerby with a Streptococcal infection in the early stages sneezes and some droplets get on your baby’s pacifier. You reach down to check on your baby and see that the pacifier has fallen to the bottom of the stroller, you don’t have any hot water nearby, and even if you did the gram-positive bacteria does not get washed off and is a thermophile so does well in hot temperatures anyway. I’m just saying, if you put that pacifier in the baby’s mouth and if it’s a listeria type of strain…you’re going to have some serious life threatening problems on your hands. Use a binky, just keep it clean, boil it before use, keep a second or third sanitized one on hand. Even if your baby doesn’t get sick or doesn’t show symptoms, she can still carry a bacteria or virus that can be transmitted to someone else who is not as resistant.”

Seriously?  All I could say when I read this is “WTF?!”  You hear about so many kids dropping dead from contaminated pacifiers these days, right?  It would be laughable if they weren’t so serious about it.

I suspect they won’t be asking me to watch their kids anytime soon. — D. in California

If baby drops her pacifier, it's a 3-day donkey-ride to the closest Purell!

110 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s some serious worst case thinking…

    I always just pop the binky back in. I’m on my third baby now and they are all quite healthy.

    It must be so stressful going through life so worried….

  2. Our rule with the bink was if it fell somewhere nasty, we’d give it a good cleaning first in our own mouth, then pass it on to the baby. They are both still alive, and we’re experimenting on number 3 now as of the last few weeks 🙂

  3. That’s ridiculous. If I had to have a clean soother for each time my daughter dropped hers to the floor when I was out, I’d have to have at least 20! Plus they need to be replaced every three months anyways. The cost of having and replacing that many soothers each month would likely be more than diapers. What a ridiculous idea.

    Infact, just this morning I was looking at my daughter with her soother (we now only use it for bed time and naps and I’m looking forward to her 2 yr birthday when we can get her excited about being a big girl and switching beds and having no soother…but back to the point…I was looking at the soother…) and thought “wow, I think it’s been quite a bit more than three months since we’ve replaced that one. So sometime soon, when I think of it again and am at the store, I’ll pick one up. But for the time being, I’m sure she’s not going to die. Oh, and just incase someone is wondering I do check for tears and such fairly often (but not every time she’s going to put it in her mouth).

    Once again this is likely a class issue because not everyone can afford to be so “safe” with their children.

  4. I got over sanitizing anything when I saw how many things my babies stuck in their mouths. The Facebook comment completely left out the fact that the flip flop you are wearing as you are walking down the Streptococcal infected boardwalk will probably end up in the baby’s mouth by the end of the day.

    I had an epiphany on worst case thinking in mothers this past weekend. My kids and I were at a water park and we were climbing several flights of wet cement stairs to get to the enormous water slides. Half way up are innertube slides and tons of people (mostly kids) are waiting in line for that holding their innertubes. As we fought our way through them I was cautioning my children to be careful, picturing them falling down the cement stairs, their heads pounding on each one. Then I thought, “My goodness, how many hundreds of people are climbing these stairs today (and everyday) and have I heard of any of them falling and getting brain damage? Did I ever come up with these scenarios before I had kids?”

    And not only do I have my own worst case scenarios to struggle with, I can get on the internet and hear about situations that I had never even thought of before!

  5. Kids don’t usually get strep until they’re about 2 (It can happen, but its really uncommon).

    Forget the pacifier, I got strep when I was nursing my 2nd child, came with mastitis. Oops, forgot to sterilize before I nursed (anyway, the doctor who gave me antibiotics also said the baby wasn’t going to get it).

  6. I feel bad for my daughter who gets such mixed messages. I’m a firm believer in the 5 second rule. Her school yells at them for putting anything that even hinted at falling on the floor in their mouth. She just looks confused when she drops things now.

    My 4.5 year old has missed a grand total of 4 days of daycare for illness since she started at 14 months so I think she’s doing okay in the health area.

    Personally, I think we should just get rid of the binkies and end this worry. I’m sure that they have their purpose and place but I get so sick of seeing preschoolers walking around with binkies in their mouth or attached to their clothes.

  7. Lol. That’s paranoia at it’s best. I don’t believe in the “5 sec rule”. Once it’s dropped on the floor or the ground, it’s dirty period. But, to say that you need to sterilize what was dropped on the ground because it can now potentially harm or even kill your baby, that’s just a tad (insert sarcasm) neurotic. We may not all remember, but we just have to look at every infant and toddler to realize, at that age, we put all sorts of things in our mouths. Feet, hand, spoons (dropped no doubt many times on the floor), even plant soil, and we are all still alive and kicking.

    If you want to look at it “scientifically”, antibodies in infants are in over drive, they will attack any foreign bacteria. Yes sometimes children get sick from something they ingested, but the body creates new antibodies to counter those bacterias that caused the child to get sick. Just like chicken pox, usually once you get them, you don’t get them again (in some rare cases, adults have been known to get them again later in life). It’s all part of the process of growing up since the dawn of man.

  8. This is just ridiculous! At most I rinse the paci if I see visible dirt or I pop it in my mouth before putting it back in the baby’s. Children need to be exposed to bacteria and germs so that their bodies develop the antibodies to fight them. Children who are never exposed to germs and are constantly being sanitized are actually MORE likely to get sick because they haven’t built up any resistance.

    Besides if I sterilized everything that my kids were likely to put in their mouths I wouldn’t ever be doing anything but cleaning, and that’s really not for me.

  9. The hygiene hypothesis also proposes that we NEED to be exposed to a certain amount of dirt to activate our immune systems. A sterile environment will make us sicker, not healthier. A study looking at the changes in allergy rates in East German children before the reunification and after is quite interesting.

    A baby crawling or toddling around will get dirty. She will put things in her mouth. That’s how she learns and explores. Try to hose her down once in a while but otherwise, chill out.

  10. That is weird. However, you could just not use pacifiers and solve that problem. Seriously, I hate those things. My son never used one. Ever. I also hate sippy cups past the age of 2. Drives me nuts.

  11. So if my baby sucks her thumb instead of a pacifier and a person with Strep sneezes and some drops get on her thumb, I should boil her thumb, right?

  12. As has been pointed out several times, exposure to dirt builds up immunity. (Some research also indicates similar results from allergies, but that is not considered conclusive yet.)

    As for the 5 second rule, the TV show Mythbusters tested it and found it isn’t so much the length of time on the floor, but the material dropped. To use an analogy, think of germs as like sand: A wet beach ball will pick up more sand bouncing around than a dry one placed down.
    Chances are, drying the binkie would be sufficient to remove any nasties stuck to the wetness, if you don’t want to build up their immune system.

  13. I think that’s more science journalism than scientific parenting. Science is about observing how the world works (ie. in a non-life-threatening sort of way) and correcting false notions (ie. that helicoptering is good for children). Science journalism is about scaring the willies out of people, mostly so that they tune in next week.

    Actually it’s funny, but between the rote-memorization so prevalent in schools to the parent-managed lifestyle kids lead at home, we’re currently raising a generation of kids who’ll make pretty crap scientists. How are you supposed to make exciting discoveries when you’ve never taken anything apart to see how it works or explored the world in any way?

  14. I was at the ultra safe, squishy, indoor mall play area yesterday and I watched a mother wipe down the bottoms of her kid’s bare feet with sanitizing wipes before they left. The kid was 10. I can sympathize with someone who may fear dirty hands, but feet are supposed to be dirty.

  15. uh… those listeria droplets would be INHALED by your child anyway…

    wait- maybe I shouldn’t have said that since now the pacifier sanitizing brigade will start having their children wear masks in public too…

    good lord!!! what has this world come to??

  16. Lesley: ” I should boil her thumb, right?”

    Thanks, my keyboard needed to be washed with tea anyway.

    I love the bit about “even if your baby doesn’t get sick”

    Classic tiger repellent.

  17. LOL At Leslie, too.

    If this mom was going through all these steps EVERY time her child dropped its binky, wouldn’t that pretty much fill up her entire day? When does she feed the child?

  18. Kim: You may hate pacifiers, but my daughter loves hers!

    As for sterilization, I figure things stop being sterile the instant they’re removed from the boiling water. I do it before first use, and I suppose I’d do it again if we were sick–you know, within our household. But other than that, at most we wash by hand or run them through the dishwasher as needed. And since I’ve been a mother for exactly 8 weeks, you’d think now is when I’d be paranoid about it.

    Except that I always remember the story my mother told me, about how when she was a baby, her mother was very careful to sterilize everything that even came near her. Right up to the day when they walked into the room to find my mother licking the dog’s face.

  19. re “tyranny of scientific parenting.”

    Science isn’t a synonym for paranoia, in fact since Free-Range is about a realistic evaluation of the facts and evidence, it is scientific.

    Questions of whether eating dirt or germs will harm and how much they will harm a baby are scientific ones and while the answers may seem shocking (millions or billions of microbes), they support free-range parenting. If the evidence showed that putting a particular substance in baby’s mouth would genuinely harm her, free-range or no, we wouldn’t do it.

    There’s enough anti-science out there which is causing real harm to children, please don’t add to it.

  20. well I do see where they are coming from…but the thing is we can never be 100% protected against bacteria, so instead of worrying so much about what the child might come in contact with, worry more about what you’re feeding little baby cakes, build her up with a good immune system (so many parents I see worry about little stuff like that, then turn around and feed them cake and cookies)… wait till they start crawling….I have a little thumb sucker…me see you boil that to sanitize it…….worry less, care more.

  21. Lesley, I was thinking the same thing! My daughter refused binkies unless you actively forced them in her mouth and then held them there. So she crawled around and got her hands dirty and then would stick her dirty thumb in her mouth. We have a dog, so I I happen to notice some dog hair on her thumb, I’ll clean it off. But that’s about the extent of it.

    Casey, Why are you supposed to replace them so often? I’ve never heard of that. So I guess I shouldn’t be saving all the binkies my daughter wouldn’t use for the next baby?

    As for sippy cups, we skipped them. We went straight to straws and then a few months later started working on having her hold a cup.

    Oh, and some anecdotes: My friend’s daughter ate a snail. She was fine. Another friend’s son ate dog poop. Yup. Dog POOP. And he was fine, too. He also eats the dog food and crawls around with dog toys in his mouth.

  22. You know I confess I did start of that way -I even had the pacifier wipes, but it didn’t take long for me to just dust them off and hand them back. In my defense I never bout more than the one pack.

    We only used pacifiers for about 3 months and it really was about where they fell -if they fell in inside, I generally just dusted them off on my clothes. If the fell in the parking lot I was a bit more cautious. Which doesn’t even make sense to me now. I did keep a spray bottle of water in my diaper bag just because it was sometimes handy for spritzing faces etc (my daughter had sensitive skin and I couldn’t use baby wipes on her face). It was just plain tap water -room temp. Sometimes if I could see stuff on the paci after I dusted it off, I would use that.

    Even now (my kids are 3) when they drop their forks during dinner I just pick them up. My MIL and friends always want to put them in the sink. As if my kid didn’t just put the block that was on the floor in her mouth.

    I do find myself doing that worst case thinking -what if….but I’m getting better and keeping perspective.

  23. I just read the liked-to article. It’s a symptom of the abuse of words where denying the benefits of vaccines and clinging to an unsupported, irrational belief that they cause autism and where deeply misunderstanding risks of SIDS can both be labelled as “scientific” and where people who are described as “rational” and evidence-based are not.

    It’s a saddening irony that a piece supporting vaccines spends so much time undermining science and supporting “mommy intuition”, the very factors which lead to the anti-vaccine movement and the recent spate of infant deaths from preventable diseases.

  24. Props to Mika for acknowledging and making an effort to veer away from the way of helicopter parenting.

  25. As a parent of an 18 month old whose kid never used a pacifier, I will attest to the fact that he still gets EVERYTHING. He’s had strep (and given it to us) 3 times in the past 4 months. Yes, he does go to daycare so brings everything home, but if the worry is that not sterilizing a pacifier will expose them to stuff, I’m here to say they’re going to get exposed anyways.

  26. Yesterday at the park I heard a mom yell to her nearly 6 year old child, “Don’t run behind me. I can’t see you when you run behind me and that’s not safe.” So that means the child is responsible for making sure he knows which direction his mother is facing at all times. I know it’s not seemingly related to your post about pacifiers but really it is because it’s all about fear. Sometimes in the face of such over safe parenting I take the other extreme just to be contrary. If I’m feeling contrary that is. That day I made sure that the mom heard me tell my 7 year old she could ride her bike home by herself. We have to show fear based parents that it’s not really so scary out there after all.

  27. I *am* a believer in the five second rule… with a whole bunch of exceptions.

    Wet things that fall on the floor? No five second rule.
    On very dirty surfaces? No five second rule.
    Because you were playing around? No five second rule.

    And, since the time Ana dropped something, picked it up, and was chastised by her sister “No, you have to say five second rule first. THEN it’s okay!” there’s no five second rule in public either. It’s just embarrassing.

  28. ITA with those who pointed out that exposure to germs is what helps develop immune systems. One of the possible reasons there are so many food allergies today is that kids’ immune systems are not developed the way they should since their world is so incredibly sanitized. And really, you cannot possibly sanitize everything a baby/child puts in their mouth.

    My son did use a pacifier and it was much easier to give up than my friend’s son’s thumb sucking. At 7 years old, he’s still sucking away every chance he gets.

    The linked article was great! We need to trust ourselves more and not get caught up in parenting pressure (peer pressure for parents).

  29. Oh good gracious! As a thumb-sucker from Day One till the braces went on in sixth-grade, I can assure you that my thumb was rarely, if ever, sanitized. Sheesh! My daughter had her share of binkies, but we kept them clipped to her with binkie leashes–not for sanitary purposes, but because I got sick of picking them up all the time.

  30. True story: My husband used to work for an inner city family medical clinic that was part of a medical school’s training program for residents. Many of the residents were recent first-time parents as well. At a Christmas party one year, I watched one of the doctors calmly pick up his baby’s pacifier, which had dropped on the floor of the clinic’s waiting room, flick it briefly against his pants, and pop it back in the baby’s mouth. Another doctor, passing by, remarked, “I see you’ve given up on the germ theory of disease.” Everyone laughed.

  31. I’ll never understand germaphobes. I happen to be a nail-biter who absolutely hates hand sanitizer. I should be sick all the time but I rarely ever am, and then usually nothing worse than a cold.

  32. I know Leslie already said this more humorously, but I dont understand why the mother feels that if a plague ridden stranger sneezes on her baby, the dirty passifier is what will doom him.

    Re: 5 second rule. I don’t think anyone considers that science. It is a combination of self justifying why it’s ok to eat the m&m you just dropped on the floor, and why it’s NOT ok to eat any food you find when doing your weekly (monthly… yearly?) sweep under the couch.

  33. Re: 5-second rule

    When my Dad was a kid he said they didn’t have the ‘5-sec rule’, instead if you dropped some food (read “candy”) you’d toss it up in the air and catch it. If you caught the piece of food 3 times in a row it was “safe” to eat. The best part was this method was repeatable until the food was so grimey you didn’t want it anyway. Dad’s 82 and in excellent health – he also credits swimming in the Pawtucket River in the 30s for his good health today.:)

    Mom, Dad, and I wiped pacies off on our pants I don’t know how many times, until my sister decided she didn’t like them any more. The other day, my sister (now almost 12) knocked her silverware off the table at a restaurant. Our waiter picked it up took off with it and brought her a new set. She was very confused as to why she was getting a whole new set since it was still wrapped in the napkin.

  34. bequirox, it says to replace the pacifier every 3 months on the package I think. As far as I can tell, the reason is because they can break down and then the sucky part could fall off while the child was sucking on it and they could choke. I think that’s the reason anyways.

    As far as the five second rule is concerned, I’m just too cheap not to use it! I can’t stand the though of not eating a cookie that fell on the floor because then I wouldn’t have a cookie!

    Oh, and what’s funny about plopping the pacifier in one’s mouth before giving it back to the child is that’s actually worse. Apparently children aren’t born with the bacteria that causes caveties, they need them transferred to them (i.e. blowing on their food, kissing them on their mouths, “washing” the soother with spit…). I can’t imagine how I would have made it this first year and a half without doing any of those things…specially the kissing. I love giving my daughter little kisses on her top lip (because she can’t figure out how to do a kissy face and just comes in for a wide open mouth kiss). And I always test her food on my lip before feeding it to her. Germs are everywhere, it’s just not possible to keep them all away from us.

  35. Well, the five-second rule was actually scientifically proven to be a load of bullpoop. The germies get on there right away. Like in a fraction of a second. If you Google this plus NPR you will find the interview with the woman (a student) who tested it.

    I was fully aware of this fact, though, when I repeatedly replaced my child’s pacifier after it had been on the ground as she spit it out again, and again, and again…

    I figured, compared to my hands after touching:
    -my car door handle
    -the doctor’s office door
    -the supermarket cart handle
    -my three-year-old
    -***baby’s pacifier***

    the ground itself was relatively clean.

    The only place I really wouldn’t do it is in the doctor’s office. That place has so many germs, and of really sick people, people so sick they had to go to the doctor. Blech.

  36. I didn’t realize that there was an actual belief that the five-second rule works. I thought it was simply a joke…to be said with a smirk, with both the sayer and the hearer knowing that its a joke.

    Wikipedia has a decent article on it, but says that the origin of the phrase is unclear. I do like the Russian equivalent, which removes the time frame while making the point: “Promptly picked up is not considered fallen.”

  37. @bequirox – re dog poop, been there too. I thought I had one particular “mess” all cleaned up until I turned around and saw my 1.5 yo with a, um, log in her hand and a bite out of it.

    Yeah, I hustled her to the bathroom and washed her mouth out with soap best I could, but I sure didn’t lose any sleep.

  38. WTF indeed. The ground is the ground. If humans haven’t evolved to deal with things that come in contact with the ground, I think we’re in a kind of trouble that no amount of Purell and obsessive home-canning behavior can vanquish.

    The scenario spelled out in the Facebook post indicates that the author is insane. We can all concoct some “Final Destination” mousetraps that endanger our kids. Why would we want to?

  39. P.S. I know of a kid who drank the runoff water from a toilet brush holder. Not recommended, but no ill effects.

  40. ZOMG that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages and ages!! 😀

    … oh, wait. It wasn’t a joke.

    My kid never had a pacifier (she had me, instead — she was *way* smarter than the manufacturers of baby bottles and binkies …), which meant that she had the entire rest of her environment in her mouth at one time or another. The boobies, the parental fingers, her own fingers and toes, all her toys, lots and lots of things that weren’t toys, a whole variety of random stuff she picked up … here, in fact, are excerpts from an entry from my on-again off-again journal, describing her in her 10th month of life:

    – if there is any tiny object on the floor that she definitely shouldn’t eat, she will find it and put it in her mouth.

    And every so often, I fear, stuff not only ended up in her mouth but went all the way through — I once found a small scrap of heavy paper with the letter O on it in her diaper, clearly torn off one of those blow-in renewal cards that fall out of magazines o_O. Somehow or other she has survived my terrible parenting for almost 8 years now 😉

    I remember when DD was really, really little, like just barely old enough to grab things, my friend with the identically-aged baby and I used to carefully keep their toys separate and discourage them from sharing their germs. That lasted a few weeks, after which they happily slobbered all over each other’s toys, not to mention each other’s body parts, without our intervention. Just one of many very freeing parenting decisions I’ve made over the years 😉

    Honestly, I don’t know how people stand the stress of being so afraid of everything all the time.

  41. I suppose that I would worry about the dog poop, because of worms. But then, now the research is indicating that the baby might benefit from the worms . . .

    I remember my sister and I discussing this once when I was visiting her in Boston. We had dropped some food item and were lamenting the loss. We realized that at home, in NH, we would probably have picked it up, brushed it off, and eaten it. But that’s the country, so it’s clean dirt. We’d never do it in the city, where the dirt isn’t clean. Funny how perceptions work.

  42. I really think that moms who spend all day thinking and worrying about this stuff are either on the verge of a nervous breakdown, psychotic, or in need of a desk job.

    The only reason we don’t know the many benefits of germs is because there is no money in germs! But just wait – someone may come up with a “germ spray” for germ-deprived kids and then start marketing them. “Every baby needs germs. Does your little precious get enough?”

    I have fed my kids a steady diet of dirt, dust, and germs from the minute they came home. Granted, they were not newborns; just in the crawling stage. The five-second rule was reserved for gooey stuff only. Dry stuff was good until the next time we swept the floor. And I don’t sweep very often. By the way, my eldest was literally never sick at all until she went to preschool, 2 years after homecoming. Younger was more of a wimp, but she was still a lot healthier after homecoming than she had been in her foster home.

    I also believe that if people would expose their kids to more germs – and not treat them so aggressively when they get sick – then the “superbugs” that freak people out would not be as “super.” But, what do I know – I’m not a scientist, just an alert observer of life.

  43. Ha ha, the dog poop – I don’t have a dog, but I did have two kids close in age – who were potty training at the same time. The15mo had poo in the potty so I turned away to get something to wipe her butt. When I turned back, she was leaning over to get some toy or book, and the poo was gone. There was only one possibility – 12mo sister. Popped it in her mouth; now debating whether that was a good idea. Mom pulled it out, washed hands, brushed teeth, gave water, and proceeded to next destination – a fancy restaurant. Woo hoo! Oh, and nobody died.

  44. I am trying to convince my 15 months old son , that sucking on live snails is not a good idea…….

  45. I have a degree in microbiology and an MD.

    The bacteria in dirt may actually be good for kids


    The exposure to lots of normal antigens certainly is.

    I popped that paci back in the mouths of all four kids. No one died. But no one has any allergies or superbugs, either.

    I would probably not try this if my kids dropped their pacis on a lab bench. Or a petrie dish, or dog poo, or the toilet. But just about everything else is fair game.

  46. How about this article from BBC NEWS:

    —-“Dirt exposure boosts happiness”—-

    It begins this way: “Exposure to dirt may be a way to lift mood as well as boost the immune system, UK scientists say.”

  47. Wow, I guess walking outside with baby is more hazardous than I ever imagined. How dare any parent take their child out to be exposed to such dangerous bacteria?

    Really, we’re pretty calm about germs and just hope the kids don’t get sick too often, which so far they don’t. Much less stressful, and if the kinds of germs that put babies into the hospital were all that common, we’d know about it.

  48. I did the ol’ ‘put it in my mouth before handing it back to baby’ thing. Hey, they’ve gotta build up their immune systems, don’t they? 😉 Luckily most of my friends feel the same way.

  49. My favorite was the grandmom picking up the pacifier and swishing it in her hot coffee and shoving it in the baby’s mouth. Boy did the baby make a sick face and spit the pacifier out. Rinse and repeat about three more times. When I asked grandmom why she was sticking it in the coffee, she replied that she wanted to sanitize the pacifier in case there was anything bad for the baby.

    Just saying – when I just shoved the pacifier back in without the side trip to the coffee, the baby didn’t complain.

  50. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live life with this kind of fear of everything. Where in this person’s mental arrangements is there room for FUN?

  51. With my first baby, I was one of those sanitizer fans. Until I found my 8 mo munching on somebody’s half-eaten cookie that was left on a park bench, crawling with ants! She found it delicious (the ants too, apparently), didn’t fall sick, and I was so revolted by the scene, I couldn’t bring myself to even look at her until she was done.
    From then on, I´ve relaxed a bit. And about pacifiers, none of my kids care much for them. The good thing about thumb sucking is that it’s difficult for kids to drop their own hands on the floor.

  52. I had a cousin who was the totally adored and spoiled child of my aunt and uncle. When she was a baby, they boiled everything that came in contact with her, and she was ALWAYS sick. They took her to their (very wise) doctor, who said the reason she kept getting sick is that her aseptic life was not allowing her to develop any immunities. So they stopped boiling, and she had no more problems.

  53. You have got to be kidding! I’m a first time mom and I just dust it off. My sister is shocked because she was a freak with her first and she didn’t get to the dusting part until her second child. 🙂

    A little bacteria is not a bad thing. We just got back from the playground and she was putting the gravel in her mouth. I’m thinking the dropped pacifier might be the cleaniest thing she put in her mouth today!

  54. Go see the movie “The Babies” if you want to know how most of the world raises their young. Those babies in Africa and Mongolia were not handed sterilized pacifiers at any time! Yet they thrived and looked happy as clams in that film.

  55. I love when people talk about bacteria like if you come into contact with a single organism, you’ll automatically be critically ill. Bacteria is everywhere people! Including Staph and E.Coli. That’s what stomach acid is for.

  56. Any of the leaves that a toddler might munch off of the pretty landscaping plants is likely to have been sprayed with insecticide. Same with the dirt from my neighbor’s garden, especially where there used to be weeds. The bottom of the local lake contains tons of arsenic that the 1960’s town government applied for the purpose of weed control. Old neighborhoods in my state – without any regard to property values – still contain homes where the scraped-together surfaces of sliding windows generate lead dust each time they are opened or closed. The well-to-do mom in the house behind ours told me that both of her children were treated for lead poisoning when they were younger.

    I think worrying about germs is quaint and old-fashioned.

  57. the joke is
    first baby you sterilize pacifier any time it falls
    second child you run it under hot water
    3 child you put in your mouth to suck it clean
    4 child you just shake it and put it back in their mouth.

    I can atest to this. Just had my fourth child and have never sterilized her dummy. She is 10 months old and never been sick!! ha hahahah

  58. My grandmother had a saying for this – “everyone has to eat a peck of dirt before they die.”

  59. I think that this is the function of having less kids. My mother in law had five boys, and at around #3, all three were under five. #4 got kidnapped from their house by an outpatient of the local juvie facility, which is a funny story, but I’m chagrined to say that if it had happened nowadays, there would have been a CPS interview. I think that her policy, out of necessity was that they cleaned up after themselves, they took care of themselves to the extent that they were capable, and she did not intercede with regards to fights unless blood was drawn. She’s a little more protective of her granddaughters, but even still… kids are kids. They’re walking petri dishes. Are you there to sterilize every time they put something in their mouth that they’re not supposed to? That’s every bit as likely to have been sneezed on by someone with typhoid or whatever.

  60. it just goes to show, you’ll never get out of this life alive.

  61. Even with my first, I was in the wash-the-paci-in-my-mouth group. When my daughter was a few months old, we were members of a social group that included a lot of retirement-age couples. When I would pick up dd’s paci, lick it off and pop it back in her mouth, those poor grandma’s just about had heart attacks. I don’t remember any of them ever saying anything, but the looks were priceless.

  62. I had a friend who “santized” every single toy in their home every day for the first four years of her kids life – a dishwasher load on high at the end of every day. She carried two huge bags wherever she went: toys still clean and toys ready for the dishwasher. She never saw anything odd in it… And she always freaked out because my kids play outdoors and mess around with sticks and stones and all things well un-washable!!! Then they moved – I wonder if she’s still doing it, her kid would be nine now!!! How weird is that!!!

  63. I have had similar reactions from our older generations.

    My daughter dropped her binky, for about the hundredth time on the carpet in the Senior Living Community where her Gigi (great grandma) lives.

    Boy I heard it all. “They never clean this carpet.” “Dogs are always in here, walking on the carpet.”

    When I tried to explain the “immune system is a muscle, it has to be worked out” theory, they scoffed in my new mother face.

    Seriously, old women are awful! If it were their kids, they’d have given them a bottle with codeine to get them to JUST STOP CRYING.

    Who’s really committing the crime?

  64. The photo and caption to this article are precious.

  65. Wow, it really is true that some people lay awake at night thinking up things to worry about. Listeria?!?!? Oh my!

    Hey! I have the perfect evidence about why hyper-hygiene is really harmful and that’s my first husband, who grew up to have a personality disorder and substance abuse problem. His mother was always being teased by the extended family because she boiled everything, always had scalded fingers they said, and was endlessly sterilising his pacifier, most unusual at the time, before paranoid parenting became the norm.

    Okay, so one case doesn’t prove anything but one case would be evidence enough for the fearmongers. 🙂

    One good reason NOT to endlessly boil everything is because some of the not so desirable chemicals in plastics are more likely to leach out if you do.

  66. LOL, I’m with the others who mentioned thumb sucking! My kids never used a dummy but they figured out very early (2 months or so) how to stick their thumbs in their mouths and suck them instead.

    My daughter in particular was incredibly grubby – she would crawl through dirt and then still suck her thumb without blinking an eye.

    I can’t imagine having to run around after her all the time, washing her thumb if it got dirty. Oh, wait, that’s right, if I was that worried I supposed I wouldn’t actually LET my kids play outside in the first place, LOL!

  67. This reminds me of a mother I met while attending my daughter’s daycare “open house”. During Q & A time she spent 10+ minutes explaining to the daycare director that they needed to develop a cleaning regimen for the toilets used for potty training, since a germ on a classmate’s butt might just get transferred to the toilet seat and then to her precious princess’s butt. As if that were the only way germs were transmitted in daycare centers!

  68. As a dental student I find it funny that the worrier specifically chose strep infection. I actually have an exam tomorrow that will deal with oral infections.
    Our mouths are at any given moment home to about 300+ species of bacteria. many of which are various Streptococci, sanguis, oralis, sobrinus, viridans, mutans, just to name a few.
    Strep bacteria are actually the primary colonizer of teeth that leads to plaque growth and the eventual cavities.
    The neat thing to realize is that 1) we have most of these bacteria in our mouths at all times anyway, 2) We got them from….. our parents!!! most likely our mothers.
    Sure go ahead and wipe off the pacifier the infant child will get plenty of bacteria to colonize their mouths from the parents, be it on the skin while breast feeding, a touch on your face by the child prior to them sticking their hands in their mouth.
    Unless parents are willing to be 100% (impossible) bacteria free, their child will get exposed.

    Sure in the worst case scenario the woman who wrote said that a passerby spewed a droplet onto the pacifier, but chances are that won’t do anything even if it happened. The few bacteria in that one droplet will more than likely be killed by any of the myriad defenses in the mouth (IgA antibodies, lysozymes etc etc), heck even the other bacteria may kill the foreigner for invading their space. Aerosol droplets from something like a Strep infection work best when breathed into the back of the throat and possibly aspirated. I believe Strep is an opportunistic pathogen, basically only when there is nice large excess of a type in an area of the body no equipped to deal with it does it cause infection.

    The mother that wrote the letter seemed to know enough that Strep in the early stages is quiet contagious , but unless I am mistaken it is not because the bacteria are more virulent, there are simply more of them that can be spread more.

    To sum up: Don’t worry too much about the pacifier unless a man with Strep sucks on it first and then coughs in your babies face.

  69. Here’s a great way to keep a pacifier clean. Don’t give it to the baby in the first place.

  70. My daughter ate a big fistful of pure dirt when she was about a year old. We were taking a walk and she stopped to examine a flowerbed, and the next thing I knew her mouth was stuffed full. I was sure she would be sick, but nope, not a thing. Compared to that, a dropped pacifier is practically sterile!

  71. How did the human race ever survive without this modern knowledge???

  72. I lived on Conger Street in Port Huron, MI–right across the street from Lake Huron–when I was a baby. Evidently a sizeable portion of my early diet was beach sand. 🙂

    Did I mention that I’m a programmer? All that silicon evidently had *some* effect…

    As for my kids, I never had to worry about pacifiers. They wouldn’t have ’em. Gave one to my son, he sucked on it a few times and then spat it out. (“Hey, there’s nothing coming out of this! What gives?!?”) My daughter didn’t even suck on it before spitting it out.

  73. Lordy, lordy…. that is just laughable! One of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. Is it no wonder the world is in the state it’s in!?!?!

  74. @Alanna, et. al. — ah, but by giving my son a pacifier (that he did, and does, quite like), I kept him from putting dog poop in his mouth (even at moments when I was otherwise occupied by such tasks as hanging the laundry on the line). Though the dog poop didn’t worry me so much, as I don’t think it constitutes a choking hazard, more the issue at that age than germs.

    As for now, look, you want to take him for however long it takes to wean him away from the thing, he’s all yours (I do, however, want him back). Otherwise, sorry, you’re just going to have to deal with the horror — should our paths intersect — of seeing a (now) 3-year-old with a paci in his mouth. If you volunteer to nurture him a bit for me, please plan to keep him ’til he’ll sleep through the night without it because I’ve got my priorities, and sleep is high on the list.

  75. 5 second rule is for wimps. I follow the “if I can recognize what meal it came from rule”! LOL Hasn’t killed my kids so far.

    If I had ever been germphobic I would have been cured the day my older son met his first dog. Either that or I would have locked him in the house forever. He was in his stroller and this huge poodle came over to say hello so my son said hello right back to him. In the obvious way: they licked each other. There was actual touching of tongues. Ewwww to me and the dog’s owner buy fine with my son. He still loves dogs but he doesn’t lick them any more.

  76. How about just not using one of those things! As a woman who had 3 kids in less than 4 yrs I have never bought one. I also keep 2 other kids that are less than 18months and don’t use theirs when I have them. IMO for the most part its lazy, and the most irritating thing is when I see preschool age kids that have them constantly! Yes its harder on the parent when u have 2 pay attention when your child is upset, but that’s parenting. And yes I know there are exceptions. Those are extremely rare tho

  77. Are people really that neurotic?
    We are definitely not germaphobes here. Even with our first if the binky fell on the floor most likely it got popped right back in the baby’s mouth. The only time I wouldn’t do that was if it fell on the parking lot floor. My husband had different ideas and would clean it off in his own mouth…ick…and give it back to her with me rolling my eyes.

    Surprisingly, she survived babyhood and is turning 10 later this month. In her nearly 10 years of life she has had 3 bouts of pink-eye and 1 ear infection. Other then a few colds here and there she has never been sick. The ear infection was last summer and came from swimming with a clogged up ear.

    I have 3 other kids and other then colds (runny nose and cough) we’ve only had the occasional outbreak of pink-eye between them, occasional stomach bug, that one ear infection and my son (kid #2) had a slight case of the flu over Halloween last year (missed trick or treating but was better a few days later). My youngest 2 kids (ages 4 and 7 1/2) have never been to the doctor for anything but well visits and have never had more then colds. In fact my 7yo missed just 1 day of school last year…I think she said her stomach hurt (she never threw up, though).

    And you better believe every single one of them picked stuff up off the ground and put it in their mouths. In fact they still eat food that has fallen on the floor. The other day I watched my 4yo pick up fruit loops that had spilled at breakfast (dry ones), look around sheepishly then pop them in her mouth instead of walking 5 feet to the trash can to toss them. I just shook my head and walked away. At least they weren’t on the kitchen floor any more.

  78. With child number one I was not yet a Free Range parent, in fact I was helicoptering all over the place. One of the things I was ADAMANT about was CLEANLINESS of my sons pacifiers and bottles. I was a stay at home dad and even though my wife was breast feeding, we used bottles supplied by her so I could feed the little guy during the day while she was at work. We must have had several dozen of those silicone nipples and white plastic rings. Just throwing them into the dishwasher was not good enough for my son. I would have to make sure that those things and the pacifiers were CLEAN. And STERILE. That meant boiling them. One Monday evening I loaded up a big pot of nipples, rings, and pacifiers and started them boiling. My wife came home from work and suggested dinner at our favorite pizza place. Okay honey, just give me a few minutes to get thins ready. I turned off the TV & computer, shut the lights, and we were ready to go.
    When we got home two hours later I heard a funny shrieking noise as we pulled up to the house. Hmmmm…..OH NO! Smoke alarm.

    You got it…..water boiled away, silicone and plastic melted and burst into flame, filling the house with thick black smoke and taking out the microwave oven vent hood over the stove. $10k in smoke damage later (thankfully the homeowners insurance covered this) and boiling of nipples no longer was allowed in or house. Guess what? Our oldest NEVER got sick, even after i just started to rinse things in the sink. In fact until he turned twelve (this year) he never missed more than a day or two of school due to a runny nose or slight cold. Same for #’s 2 and 3. And sometimes they didn’t even get the pacifier RINSED off. Hey it’s not like it fell into the litter box, it only fell on the floor!

  79. When I was 2 I ate all the cigarette butts in the ashtray. That was in 1973. Ashtrays were not hidden after that. Sadly, my parents didn’t stop smoking until more than 30 years later. Oh well.

    I do have to say something about strep. My son had an ear infection. A kid he was playing with had strep and decided to scream and sneeze into my son’s ear. At that point I didn’t know my son had an ear infection, but the mother of the child with strep DID know about the strep infection. The spit from the kid with strep got into my son’s ear because he was yelling and sneezing at close range (my son almost decked him), the strep mingled with the just starting ear infection, and a week later my son was in the hospital with bacterial meningitis fighting for his life. Sooooo…I know it was a fluke. We should have won the lottery, I mean, that crap just doesn’t happen. It did happen, though, so I know it can.

    Interestingly, my son hasn’t wanted to play with that kid since then (he didn’t like him much to being with), he also hasn’t wanted to watch any of the tv shows he had been watching just before he got sick, and he won’t eat tic-tacs because he ate a bunch just before getting sick. I have a copy of The Blob, and I don’t ever want to watch that again, not only because it sucked, but because I watched it the day before he got sick and it reminds me of that horrible month. Isn’t it funny what your mind does?

  80. D in California can watch my kids ANYTIME! (I’ll never forget the day I caught my year-old son eating dirt out of a flowerpot…or a leaf off the ground, the day after I spread fertilizer…OMG, I just admitted to letting my child play on freshly-fertilized grass!)

  81. This reminds me of my first mommies’ group. We’d meet in the park and sit on blankets. Everyone else would plunk the baby in the middle of the blanket, watch as he or she crawled to the edge, then just when baby reached freedom, pick him or her up and plunk him or her back in the middle. The looks I got when I let my child crawl on the grass and dirt!! But she’s about to turn two and has never been seriously ill, so…

    On an unrelated note, when will we as a culture find a less unwieldy (more wieldy?) way to say “him or her”?? I hate the singular antecedent with plural pronoun thing, but I hate this almost as much.

  82. My daughter is currently potty-training and when she poops on the potty, she gets a sucker which she can have when I pick her up from preschool. Yesterday, she unwrapped it and immediately dropped it on the floor – imagine the looks of horror on the preschool helpers’ faces when she popped it into her mouth and I just shrugged it off! I can’t imagine not letting her have it – it hadn’t been in her mouth yet so wouldn’t pick up much dirt, and anyways, a little bit of dirt never killed anyone. In fact, I credit my leniency with her healthiness – she’s only missed a day here and there of daycare, and that was usually a rampant family-wide stomach-bug.

  83. Sara, just use singular they. Shakespeare did it, and that’s, like, the iron-clad test.

  84. I’m just laughing at this one.

    So my pediatrician said this:

    “Is she crawling yet? Yes? Then she’s picking up every nasty, gross thing on your floor, in the grass, under he bed, etc, and popping it in her mouth. The pacifier is the least of your worries. Unless it’s clearly fallen in feces or raw chicken blood, my advice is to rinse off the big chunks and give it back to her. She needs to develop her immune system.”

    Or as my father said, “Ya gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die. Might as well get started.”

  85. Hahaha! Thanks for the chuckle. I have four kids who sucked on a variety of not very clean binkys. And they are still alive now (youngest is four). Whew.

    I once pulled a broken cat toenail out of the mouth of one of my kids. Makes for good cocktail party conversation with the free range parent crowd!!

  86. I have to say I don’t get too much of the “you aren’t clean enough” attitude around here. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

    I did notice on another website, when moms were giving excuses for why they don’t like taking their kids to the park: the germs! Those who did take the kids to the park stated that they all took showers the minute they got home. Ha ha ha! I never even thought about germs at the park. I mean, we have to be talking about kids who are big enough to walk and climb, right? One wonders where these precious poos are going to go to elementary school if they are to remain sterile on the playground.

    I usually bring a picnic to the park, which we eat at a picnic table or on a bench, without first cleaning off the eating surface. I will put a piece of wrapping or something down for a “plate,” but if it blows away, oh well. Also, if they drop their (dry) food on the ground, they can pick it up and eat it if they want to. And we use the water fountains to keep hydrated too, LOL.

  87. That’s why we never gave our kids a binky.

    (that and they didn’t like them).

    On the other hand, they put their hands in their mouth a lot, and I let the dog lick their faces (and, seriously, you can’t imagine what my dog eats).

    Kids are pretty rugged.

  88. I was lucky enough to have a pediatrician who told me “We don’t live in a sterile world, so sterilizing bottles and binkies is a waste of time. If you got a sterilizer as a gift, return it. Your babies will be healthier for it.”

    I work in healthcare. I am surprising not a germophobe. My family is pretty healthy. My old babysitter washed everything in bleach almost daily. She used anti bacterial everything. Lots of toys run through the dishwasher. And they are routinely sick. Which prompts more bleach sessions. She wouldn’t listen to me that the killing of all germs and bacteria could be the problem. I had to stop using her because when her kids were sick, she wouldn’t take mine. I didn’t mind the ‘contamination’ but she wouldn’t take them. The third month in a row of three days off for little Suzie’s sniffles was it, I had to find a less OCD babysitter.

  89. fawn: “How about just not using one of those things! … IMO for the most part its lazy, … Yes its harder on the parent when u have 2 pay attention when your child is upset, but that’s parenting.”

    My kids don’t use pacifiers, they just don’t like them. But why on earth shouldn’t a parent take a short cut that works for them? You don’t get points for being the most worn out parent. I dislike seeing kids that look big enough for school with a pacifier in their mouths, but I also dislike hearing the same kids whine or having a far too frazzeled mom in front of me at the cafe.

    Besides, the point of the whole tale is nothing to do with the pacifier, if it wasn’t a pacifier it would have been something else. Far out worst case scenarios don’t require anything specific – they’re easily adaptable when they don’t have to be realistic.

  90. “You don’t get points for being the most worn out parent.”

    Another line I’m going to use!

  91. When my son first learned to crawl, he discovered shoelaces. They were his favorite thing in the world. He’d pull them untied, then suck on them. Dirty, nasty, brown, dragged in the dirt, snow, slush, parking lot filth shoelaces. Made me feel sick to watch him do it, but every time I took them away, he crawled off somewhere else and found a new pair that I’d forgotten about. Eventually I gave up… and discovered he was just fine. At that point I stopped worrying too much about sanitizing things.

    And, on an unrelated note…all my co-worker Moms couldn’t believe I’d gotten him to give up his paci at age 1. Their kids all had to be broken of the habit when they were in preschool. My philosophy was: at his age, I’m not spending one more penny on a pacifier. When he lost the last one, he didn’t get any more. First couple days were tough. Then he got over it and started chewing on his stuffed animals. End of story.

  92. My kids weren’t offered pacifiers by their foster moms. I’m not sure whether they were allowed to suck their fingers, but they didn’t have this habit when I took custody. Instead, one sucked on her lower lip. The other sucked on her tongue while holding a furry toy (still does actually, when the need arises). Whatever makes ’em happy! At least I never had to “wean” them.

  93. SKL,

    My parents were known to hose me down in the park if there was a faucet available – or toss me in the shower when I got home. I have a skin condition and the heat makes it worse. We still went out and did things. We tended to do more water related things like tubing or going to the beach.

    My parents were scolded for letting me in the water with a rash. Some people were afraid they would “catch it” even after my parents explained it was a genetic condition. Others were sure I would get a deadly infection because my skin was “broken”. I’m still here.

  94. The pacifier clips were the best inventions ever.

    When my son was about a year old we decided that the pacifier was for bedtime only. We’d come in to get him in the morning and he’d turn his head and spit it out. One day I found him standing at his crib sucking on the pacifier. I guess he was having a stressful day!

  95. A binky on the ground is nothing. At 10 months old, my son ate a hunk of goose poop. It was entirely an accident (I mean, it’s not like I fed it to him), and somehow he made it to 2 1/2. In fact, he’s one of the healthiest kids I know.

    Where in the world do these parents find the TIME to boil binkies every time they’re dropped?

  96. I find this eccentric person hilarious and fascinating! Have they EVER been camping? Do they remember days pre-hand sanitized? I do wonder how they keep every floor sanitized and every toy away from that poor kids mouth. They surely won’t be allowed to make mudpies!!

  97. I’m definitely in the ‘a few germs are good’ camp. I never sterilised everything she came near… she’s not a dummy user, though she is a thumb sucker and I don’t wash her hands constantly.

    And interestingly enough, this is a child two days short of her second birthday and she has never had anything worse than a mild cold – she’s never been so ill that she couldn’t sleep, I’ve never had to keep her out of nursery due to illness, no tummy bugs, no serious fevers.

    I often wonder what it is people think their kids are going to ‘get’ from unsterilised surroundings that would be worse than an upset stomach or a cold?

  98. A theory to help solve the mystery – I would bet that the “5 second rule” originated in the food service industry. I first heard it from Navy cooks – all of whom had prior civilian restaurant jobs – over 30 years ago. In more recent years, I’ve done a lot of market gardening to chefs (and have spent a lot of time both in kitchens and partying after work with line chefs, who are a LOT of fun to hang out with, if you like psycotic social misfits) and the “rule” is still very much gospel. Not that anyone believes it takes 5 seconds for germ transfer – the bottom line is that even in very fancy, expensive restaurants the occasional lobster or rack of lamb is going to wind up on the floor during the dinner rush, and the chef has a choice between pretending to believe in the 5 second rule or moving part of his food budget from profit (on the customer’s plate) to loss (in the trash.) Trust me, if you eat out a lot, you’ve eaten off the kitchen floor. But that’s a lot better than getting pissy with the waitress and sending your order back because it was cooked exactly the way you ordered it but you feel like acting like a big shot. Unless you like steak with salivia sauce, of course.

  99. Actually, studies have shown that it generally takes MORE than five seconds for measurable pathogens to transfer, particularly if the floor is kept reasonably clean. But it’s a good rule of thumb, because what it really means is, “If you oops and scoop it right up, no harm done, but nobody wants stuff that’s been actually lying on the floor.”

  100. To expand — it probably takes more than five seconds for measurable pathogens to transfer because these things don’t exactly have a hunting instinct — it’s not like they’re “waiting” to “hop” onto the first thing that comes into contact. And if your kitchen floor is so coated with pathogens that a disease-inducing number of organisms can instantaneously transfer to something that fell directly on top of them, it ain’t the five second rule that’s the problem.

  101. My youngest kid’s favourite food group is lint. I can’t imagine sanitizing a pacifier for him.

  102. These are really great comments! I’m laughing so hard I’m crying!

    I had planned on breastfeeding till my daughter turned one yo, but reality set in and we ended up giving formula at the end of the day. We would just mix up the formula in a bottle and that was that. A year later I found instructions in an unused formula bag from the hospital with explicit directions on proper sanitization of bottles. Too late. Glad I hadn’t found that thing earlier!

  103. I have a friend who is a germaphobe. She won’t even take her child to indoor playgrounds for fear of all the germs, and forget about daycare. The funny thing is, for all her sanitizing and wiping and protecting, her kid is constantly sick. And I’m not just talking about minor colds. That kid is always on antibiotics or some other medication and it seems to take him forever to recover.

    However, my kid (the one who ate goose poop) is in daycare twice a week, at his grandmothers’ homes (with other kids) twice a week, and is taken to indoor playgrounds quite often. While I certainly don’t encourage him to eat stuff he finds on the floor, I’m also not too vigilant about it either. I never sanitized bottles, binkies, or anything else, yet my son is rarely sick and when he is, he recovers quite quick.

    I’m not saying there’s anything scientific in my comparison of the two kids, but I do find it sort of funny that for all my friend’s germaphobia, her kid is the one with the weak immune system.

  104. Okay. The sanitation police will just have to come and arrest me. Heidi made me remember this. When my kids were infants, I did not breastfeed (don’t jump all over me, I tried and couldn’t). When I went to bed at night, I took a cold bottle of formula out of the fridge, left it in their room by the rocker and went to sleep. When they woke up in the middle of the night, the bottle was room temp, no waiting. They and I were able to get right back to sleep with a minimum of disruption. Our house has always been heated and air conditioned so it stays a nice 70 degrees for the most part. Neither of my kids ever had stomach problems.

    Also, nowadays most people have dishwashers. If you put the bottles in there they do get sterilized. Back in the old days when they used lye soap, yeah, I would have boiled them clean.

  105. When my nephew was using a pacifer and it fell to the ground, floor wherever we may have been. My sister and I would pick it up and “clean” it by putting it in our mouthes and then hand it back to him. But we would always say to each other remember where this happened in case the CDC has to come in and swab for samples. I am happy to report we were never ill to the point of CDC intervention and come to realize I really must love my nephew because I would never do that for an adult.

  106. Every time I reread the post I’m more amazed. If you took this seriously, you wouldn’t need two or three clean pacifiers on hand, you’d need nine or ten for an outing of any length. Most kids spit them out at least every few minutes. And let’s say the kid spit the pacifier out — would you stop and look around to see if anyone walked by before you put it back in, or would you just ASSUME that any time the binky lost contact with the palate, a strep-infected person MIGHT HAVE walked by and sneezed, so you’d need a clean one?

    Yeah, if I was even attuned to such things I might see trying to clean off a paci if a person sneezed within 10 feet of the baby. (Generally, though, I never have noticed small events like that, and like others commenting here, have some of the healthiest kids among the families I know.) MIGHT. MAYBE. But no way would I consider the possibility of such a thing maybe by some small chance happening as a defining model for how I handled binkys in all situations. SHEESH!

  107. If this lady is so concerned, why is she even using pacifiers at all?! It’s much better for a baby’s health to give them a boob when they want something to suck on.

  108. s0nicfreak: It’s much better for a baby’s health to give them a boob when they want something to suck on.”

    *Much* better? Really?

    What exactly is the difference in health on average between a breast fed baby that is given a pacifier to suck on when not being fed and a breast fed baby that isn’t?

  109. And your baby should always wear protective shades outside. Here’s the scenario: Your walking near a lake and at that very moment, a meteor falls into the lake and makes a splash and your standing close enough that you get hit with the splash. And what if some of the water gets in your baby’s eye and what if, just earlier that day, a nuclear powerplant exploded and spilled toxic waste into the lake and now some of it is in your baby’s eye, and what if it causes her to grow an extra head and spout tentacles and ergo she never gets into Yale?

    I’m just saying.

  110. Everytime I hear germophobic nonsense like this, I defer to the late great George Carlin:

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