DUMMIES could help to prevent sudden death in lactating infants, according to new research by a hospital in Ciudad Real (Castilla-La Mancha).
Whilst often blamed for mouth infections and distorted teeth in toddlerhood, the Hospital General La Mancha Centro in Alcázar (Ciudad Real) has found that the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, which affects one in 1,000 newborns in Spain, may be prevented if babies suck a dummy when they sleep.
This is because a dummy keeps the baby's tongue in the right position, preventing swallowing, marginally increasing intake of carbon dioxide, and exercises the muscles surrounding the respiratory tract and peripheral breathing system of the ear, nose and throat.
Dummies also increase production of the enzyme IgA, given that the baby is sucking but not digesting food or liquids, and prevents the complete obstruction of the nose and mouth against the mattress.
Although it affects babies of up to a year old, sudden infant death syndrome – also known as 'cot death' - is most common in the first month after birth.
It is the diagnosis given when no obvious cause can be found.
This research was carried out at the maternity department of the hospital after studying databases – including Cochrane, Pubmed, Cuiden, Cuidatge and Enfispo – which led to finding 18 articles on the subject, of which seven were selected and analysed in depth.