When it comes to oral development, the best pacifier for toddlers is no pacifier at all. Pacifier use can prevent children from talking as clearly or as often as they should as well as affect how the teeth and palate develop. In the real world, however, babies and toddlers often need pacifiers for self-soothing. So parents can try to set limits on pacifier use such as only giving them at sleep times and after tantrums.
The best pacifiers should be labelled "orthodontic," meaning that they keep the toddler's jaw in the correct place while the child sucks on them. Use the right size for the toddler; some pacifiers are only labelled 0-6 months and 6 months plus, others go up to 12 months plus. Choosing the right size will ensure that the orthodontic features work their best.
You're not home-free if your toddler has an orthodontic pacifier, though. To be the best pacifier, it needs to be safe. That means it should be made of one piece and that the sides should be at least 1 1/2 inches long to prevent choking. All those adorable pacifiers with rhinestones and other cute decorations can be choking hazards as well, so use them for decoration only.
If you've ever seen a toddler with a bright red rash around her mouth, you've seen a kid who needs a pacifier with ventilation holes. These holes in the base of the pacifier allow air to come in and saliva to come out so that your toddler doesn't develop one of these rashes. Another good idea is to look for a pacifier that is BPA-free. BPA is a chemical commonly used in hard plastic containers, and questions remain about it's long-term health effects.
Your final task when shopping for the best pacifier is to look at the material the pacifier is made from. Toddlers can develop latex allergies, so avoid pacifiers made out of latex. Silicone is a popular pacifier material and should work just fine for your toddler. If you would prefer to use an organic material, you can find natural rubber pacifiers for your toddler. Following those guidelines will help you find the best pacifier for oral development available in your area.
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