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Dummies are a common item in homes with newborn and teething babies, as a comfort for the pain and as a comforter in general. Dummies do break down with time and can become less efficient and even a hygiene problem if they’re not switched out regularly. But, how often should a dummy be replaced? What are the signs for when it’s time to get rid? Let’s discuss
How long do dummies last?
Sadly, dummies are made with some nasty plastics which aren’t great for the environment as they don’t degrade. This also means that dummies in general will just keep going forever until they are broken down properly. This is both a benefit and a drawback as a dummy that has outlived its usefulness won’t be obvious with close up inspection.
Most modern dummies use latex rubber which gives it a ‘natural’ feel and the dummy of choice for breastfed babies, but these can also degrade and break down over time and aggressive use.
There is no firm rule or timeline of when a dummy should be replaced. However, if you look online and aggregate all the recommendations then you’ll typically find that people recommend to replace dummies every 4-6 weeks. This is a guideline if you do not find any weaknesses, tears or holes. If you spot anything like that it should be replaced straight away.
When should a dummy be replaced?
If you’re inside the 4-6 week time frame then there are several signs a dummy can have to show it needs to be binned. The obvious ones are:
- The teat is starting to detach from the hard plastic
- Cracks or tears on any part of the dummy
- Discolouration (looks dirty)
- Weaknesses or uneven shape (from when it was new)
If you spot any of the above in a dummy, even if it’s brand new, don’t use it.
There is a good method of doing this called the ‘Pull Method’ whereby you literally pull the dummy in all directions, stretching the plastic, which exposes any weaknesses easily. A safe dummy should be able to be pulled quite a bit without any weakness.
Aggressive and over use of a dummy can speed up the process of it breaking down, it’s advisable to avoid using dummies when there is no need, sometimes a cuddle is enough to sooth, sometimes they may need a nap – other times if they’re teething calpol or nurofen may be enough.
Dangers of not replacing dummies
- Worn down dummies can harbour germs which can hide in tiny little holes in the plastic.
- Damaged hard plastic can rub and cut in the babies mouth
- Uneven and warped teats can affect their teeth and make areas of the mouth sore
- As plastic breaks down, especially PVC/BPA can seep out into the saliva and make them unwell
- It will stop pacifying them if it’s just broken
Once they reach the age of 6-12 months, it’s advisable to consider not replacing dummies as their teeth come in.