It's one of the most common baby accessories on the market, yet the pacifier has the potential to be fatal if ingested, as Adrienne Herrick discovered.
While it may sound far-fetched, it does happen. In 2012, nonprofit Kids In Danger found that 12 pacifiers were recalled after 68 choking incidents were recorded by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, according to an article in the Huffington Post.
Herrick's 5-month-old baby boy, Cameron, is a cautionary tale. His swallowed pacifier became lodged in his throat, and cut off his oxygen supply.
Doctors acted fast, performing a procedure known as a cricothyrotomy (whereby a needle inserts oxygen directly into the trachea). The pacifier was then surgically removed, piece by piece. And poor little Cameron was forced into an induced coma so he could recover from the ordeal.
Today Cameron is a happy and healthy 7 month old. But it's unimaginable to conceive of the distress he and his parents must have endured that day, which Herrick describes as "a day he'll never remember, and a day I'll never forget."
Needless to say pacifiers are no longer allowed in their home. "He sucks his thumb now," Herrick said. "I don't care. I'll get him braces when he gets older."
A little paranoia goes a long way. Are you at all concerned about using a pacifier?
See our list of children's products recalled due to a potential choking hazard.