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!