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    You might want to use a dummy to soothe and settle your baby, however they can pose a choking and suffocation hazard if not used correctly.

    Read on to learn a few simple steps you can take to help keep your baby safe.

    Choosing a safe dummy

    Baby reaching out to grab a dummy.

    There are some important safety features of a dummy that you should be aware of:

    • Dummies must meet certain safety requirements to reduce the risks of choking. Look for statements/labels that show compliance with the latest Australian safety standards. If you’re unsure or can’t find them, ask the supplier.
    • Make sure the dummy shield has two ventilation holes to allow your baby to breathe.
    • The dummy should have an external smooth surface with no printing on the sucking side of the shield or any adhesive decals attached to any part of the dummy.
    • Look for dummies in a sealed pack that includes instructions for use and hygienic care of the dummy.

    Using dummies safely

    • Manufacturers' instructions are there to keep your baby safe, so make sure you always follow them when sterilising or washing your existing dummies.
    • Check the dummy for damage or weakness before each use by pulling gently on the teat and tugging on the handle or ring to make sure it will not give way when being sucked.
    • Any holes, tears or bite marks caused by use and washing can weaken dummies, making them a choking risk for your baby. This is a risk particularly for children under 3, who have not yet developed the reflex action to cough up anything lodged in their throats.
    • Dispose of damaged or older dummies regularly to avoid choking risks from wear and tear. 

    Beware chains and decorations

    • A dummy chain is a strap or chain which attaches to a dummy on one end and features a clip that fastens onto clothing on the other. They come in many styles.
    • Attaching chains, ribbons, strings, beads or cords to dummies should be avoided as they can be a choking, strangulation and inhalation risk. If you do decide to use a dummy chain, make sure it is less than 22cm in length and the clothing fastener does not break or tear when opened and closed repeatedly.
    • Dummies with removable decorations should never be used for the same reasons.