Pacifier Use and Speech and Language Delay

Speech and Language

Pacifier Use and Speech and Language Delay

If my child uses a pacifier will he/she have delayed speech and language?

The short answer is; the research is unclear.

A number of studies have looked at the prolonged use of a pacifier and its effect on speech and language.  Some studies do show a correlation and some do not.

Some studies have also shown that children who use a pacifier for an extended period of time are at an increased risk of dental problems and ear infections, which are known contributors to speech and language delays.

From a Speech-Language Pathologists perspective, although the research is inconclusive, my recommendation to parents would be to be cautious when encouraging prolonged use of a pacifier or thumb sucking and discontinue as soon as you can.  If the child’s mouth is occupied, he/she has less opportunity for babble, imitation and ultimately practice with sounds and words. These early childhood development stages are critical to proper speech success.  If your child uses a pacifier or enjoys sucking his/her thumb, don’t panic but do start thinking of other comforting measures and ensure your child has a lot of “empty mouth talking time” (i.e. no soother or thumb in his/her mouth) throughout the day to practice his/her speech and language skills.

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Erin Avramidis, M.Cl.Sc. SLP, Reg. CASLPO

About Erin Avramidis, M.Cl.Sc. SLP, Reg. CASLPO

Erin is a Registered Speech Therapist and Clinical Director of Speech Kids Canada, an In-Home Speech therapy company.

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