Study quantifies children’s mouthing of objects

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Reassuring news for concerned parents

A study asked parents to observe and record their children’s mouthing behavior over five non-consecutive days. Approximately 300 children showed a wide range of mouthing behaviors, from essentially none at all to a relatively large amount. “Concerned parents should be reassured by these results, which show that children tend to mouth objects less than previously thought overall,” said researcher Daland R. Juberg. While more infants die from choking on foods than non-food objects each year, researcher Kimberly M. Thompson said “parental attention can make the difference between a child’s safe exploration of his or her environment and a trip to the emergency room.” A study evaluating children’s mouthing of non-food objects finds that children under three years old spend an average of 36 minutes per day mouthing non-pacifier objects, less than previously thought. The study was published in January 2001 in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.