Parents, don’t give your baby another “binkie” until you read this. Because according to a new study, most pacifiers expose babies to high levels of dangerous germs – including mold, staph, and the “superbug” MRSA! And every time you pop a contaminated pacifier in a baby’s mouth, you’re spreading microbes that raise their risk of everything from ear infections and pneumonia, to asthma and heart disease!

Since when are pacifiers so dangerous? Dr. Tom Glass is a germ expert who says it’s always been that way. Because if you look at a pacifier under a microscope, you’ll see that it’s full of tiny pores – like a sponge – which are ideal for soaking up saliva and bacteria! Dr. Glass says the result is that when pacifiers become contaminated, they immediately begin growing a sticky layer of bacteria, known as “biofilm,” that becomes harder and harder to wash off. That’s a big deal when you consider that 85% of babies use pacifiers.

Dr. Glass says the problem is that most parents think nothing of grabbing a pacifier off a seat tray – or the floor - and sticking it back in a baby’s mouth. But know this: A child’s immune system isn’t fully developed until age 12. So, any exposure to germs from a pacifier is especially dangerous for babies.

That’s why Dr. Glass says parents need to do a better job of keeping pacifiers clean! That means washing them with dish soap and water before popping them in your baby’s mouth. And then re-washing pacifiers every time they fall out – even if it’s just for a few seconds. He also recommends replacing pacifiers every 2 weeks, or sooner if your baby’s been sick recently.