Objective: The risk of sudden infant death during sleep was postulated to d
ecrease with the use of a pacifier and ny conditions facilitating arousals
from sleep. We evaluated the influence of a pacifier on arousal from sleep
in healthy infants.
Study design: Fifty-six healthy infants were studied with polygraphy during
1 night; 36 infants used a pacifier regularly during sleep, and 20 never u
sed a pacifier. Thumb users or occasional pacifier users were not included
in the study. The infants were recorded at a median age of 10 weeks (range
6 to 19 weeks). To evaluate auditory arousal thresholds, the infants were e
xposed to white noise of increasing intensity during rapid Eye movement sle
Results: Polygraphic arousals occurred at significantly lower auditory stim
uli in pacifier users than in nonusers (P = .010), Compared with nonusers,
pacifier users were more frequently bottle-feel than breast-fed (P = .036).
Among infants sleeping without a pacifier, breast-fed infants had lower au
ditory thresholds than bottle-fed infants (P = .049).
Conclusions: Infants using pacifiers during sleep had lower auditory arousa
l thresholds than those who did not use a pacifier during sleep. Breast-fee
ding could be a further factor contributing to lower arousal thresholds. Th
ese findings could be relevant to the occurrence of sudden infant deaths du