Haute Health

Germaphobes, take heed: A new study released in the Journal of Pediatrics states that sucking on your child’s pacifier may reduce the risk of allergies, asthma and eczema.

While the findings are inconclusive, the childrens health study—which took place in Sweden—suggests that the sharing of microbes between mother and child strengthens the child’s immune system and better prepares them to combat harmful bacteria (much in the same way that vaginal birth exposes a child to different bacterias than a Cesarian section, thus resulting in better immune health). “Kids whose pacifiers had been sucked on by parents were 63 percent less likely to have eczema at 18 months and 88 percent less likely to have asthma, compared to the children of parents who didn’t use that cleaning technique,” Reuters reports.

Health officials have long discouraged the passing of germs between parents and children, and some still do, citing the transfer of “cavity-causing bacteria from a parent’s mouth to the child’s” as reason enough to leave the pacifier alone, says the New York Times article on the subject.

While this new study might raise questions about the way you clean binky, one thing’s for sure: If an Elizabeth Street mom is going to put a pacifier in her mouth, it better be a stylish one.