A new study shows that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them develop fewer allergies and had lower rates of asthma, eczema and other disorders than babies whose parents rinsed or boiled their pacifiers. It is at once wonderful and rare to discover that our laziness is accidentally healthy.
The study—conducted in Sweden and published in the journal Pediatrics—followed a group of 180 children from birth, whose parents were instructed to keep a diary detailing significant events like food introduction, weaning, etc.
Those whose parents reported at least occasionally cleaning their children’s pacifiers by sucking them were significantly less likely to develop the conditions — particularly eczema — and blood tests showed that they had lower levels of a type of immune cell associated with allergies. Analyses of the children’s saliva also showed patterns that suggested the practice had altered the kinds of microbes in their mouths.
While the study couldn't scientifically prove that parents' saliva were directly responsible for reducing allergies, it suggests that "the practice may be a marker for parents who are generally more relaxed about shielding their children from dirt and germs." Translation: parents who are uptight about protecting their children might be robbing them of developing the own abilities to protect themselves.
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