smiling baby with pacifier in mouth

Parents make choices every day about the products they allow their babies to touch. For many families, pacifiers are a staple, a lifesaver. But not just any pacifier will do. Babies have demands when it comes to the calming tool they prefer. You have a checklist, too — and the biggest requirement is that the pacifiers you rely on are safe for your baby.

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Things to Consider When Choosing a Pacifier

Bottles, sippy cups, teething rings, pacifiers — everything that goes in your baby’s mouth is a big deal. Pacifiers, in particular, stay locked in your baby’s mouth for long periods of time, through sleep or car rides or outings or anytime, just for comfort.

Is the pacifier made of safe materials? Will the baby choke on it? Could the pacifier damage their gums or teeth? First-time parents are likely to do some serious research to determine the safest pacifier for their baby. Veteran parents may swear by certain brands. Your baby, ultimately, will decide which pacifier he or she likes best.

What you can do is make sure the pacifiers you allow your child to choose from are made of materials you feel good about.

Multi-Piece vs. One-Piece Pacifiers

Multi-piece pacifiers are usually constructed of three separate pieces — the nipple, the guard, and the ring or handle — and can be found in latex, silicone, and even hard plastic.

Many parents gravitate toward single-piece pacifiers to eliminate the worry that the pacifier will fall apart in their child’s mouth — and create a choking hazard.

Rubber vs. Natural Rubber Pacifiers

Silicone, latex, rubber — they’re all branches on the same family tree. Silicone, the most common material used for pacifier nipples, is made from silicon, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen — naturally occurring chemical elements. This combination allows for odor-resistant pacifiers that can usually be cleaned in the dishwasher. However, silicone rubber typically includes chemical softeners and preservatives, making some parents pause before purchasing this type of pacifier.

Rubber pacifiers are softer than silicone and many babies prefer this type of binky. Rubber is latex, so if your baby has a latex allergy they cannot use this type of pacifier. Natural rubber, also known as pure latex, is collected from the sap of rubber trees, filtered, dried, and processed, without any added chemicals, which makes many parents feel much better about their child using this type of pacifier.

If you’re worried about phthalates, these chemicals have not been used in pacifiers sold in the U.S. since 1999. Most pacifiers are also BPA-free, as latex and silicone generally don’t contain BPA.

A Multitude of Pacifier Options

Parents who prefer natural products for their baby may gravitate toward brands like the Natursutten Original Ortho Pacifier or Ecopiggy’s Natural Rubber Ecopacifier, both sustainably made of 100 percent natural rubber with a one-piece construction.

There are well-established baby product brands that make pacifiers, and some parents rely on the brand’s reputation to help them make their choices. Philips Avent Soothies, NUK, and Dr. Brown’s are generally at the top of the list when it comes to pacifier choices.

You can get pacifiers with patented ventilation holes, orthodontic designs, and even binkies that dispense tooth gel to promote good oral health. There are pacifiers with glow-in-the-dark handles so babies (and sleep-deprived parents) can quickly locate the binky in the darkness of night. And, if you go in for the cuteness factor, you can find pacifiers decorated with fake mustaches, camo, animals, stars, and more.

Ultimately, it’s up to every parent to determine the pacifier that is best and safest for their baby, what will allow everyone to rest easy at night, and whether sustainability is a priority.