Using a pacifier to decrease sudden infant death syndrome: An emergency department educational intervention

Paul Walsh, Teri Vieth, Carolina Rodriguez, Nicole Lona, Rogelio Molina, Emnet Habebo, Enrique Caldera, Cynthia Garcia, Gregory Veazey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Pacifier use decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). An emergency department (ED) visit may provide an opportunistic 'teachable moment' for parents. Objectives: To test the hypotheses (1) that caregivers were less familiar with the role of pacifiers in sudden infant death (SIDS) prevention than other recommendations, and (2) that an ED educational intervention would increase pacifier use in infants younger than six months, and (3) that otitis media would not occur more frequently in pacifier users. Methods: We did an intervention-group-only longitudinal study in a county hospital ED. We measured pacifier use infants and baseline knowledge of SIDs prevention recommendations in caregivers. We followed up three months later to determine pacifier use, and 12 months later to determine episodes of otitis media. Results: We analyzed data for 780 infants. Parents knew of advice against co-sleeping in 469/780 (60%), smoking in 660/776 (85%), and prone sleeping in 613/780 (79%). Only 268/777 (35%) knew the recommendation to offer a pacifier at bedtime. At enrollment 449/780 (58%) did not use a pacifier. Of 210/338 infants aged less than 6 months followed up 41/112 (37%) non-users had started using a pacifier at bedtime (NNT 3). Over the same period, 37/98 (38%) users had discontinued their pacifier. Otitis media did not differ between users and non-users at 12 months. Conclusion: Caregiver knowledge of the role of pacifiers in SIDS prevention was less than for other recommendations. Our educational intervention appeared to increase pacifier use. Pacifier use was not associated with increased otitis media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere309
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Education in the emergency department
  • Emergency department
  • Infant
  • Pacifier
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using a pacifier to decrease sudden infant death syndrome: An emergency department educational intervention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this