Mom Warns About Pacifier Suction After Toddler Suffers 'Burns' to the Side of His Face
A mom from Michigan is cautioning parents after a pacifier was suctioned onto to the face of her infant son, causing a severe quarter-sized blister on his cheek.
When Kristen Milhone went to hold her 7-month-old son, Jack, as he cried during the early morning hours of June 20, she immediately noticed something was wrong with him.
“I picked him up, and there was a really big bump on the side of his head,” Milhone, from Lowell, Michigan, tells PEOPLE. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s weird.’ So, I turned the light, and it looked like the start of chemical burns on his right cheek.”
Milhone quickly took Jack to the emergency room at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, where doctors were initially clueless about what caused the injury. First, doctors thought the blister may have been a ringworm, but once they ruled that out, they asked Milhone about the objects that were around her son when the blister was discovered. Thinking back to what was in Jack’s crib at the time, Milhone remembered he fell asleep with a Philips Avent Soothie — a uniquely shaped silicone pacifier that has an open space where a handle is traditionally placed.
“I went and got the pacifier out of his car seat, and the doctor took the backside of the pacifier and he measured the opening on the backside of the pacifier to the spot on Jack’s face,” she recalls. “It was the exact same size.”
Doctors surmised that Jack likely rolled over onto the pacifier as he slept, creating a suction effect between his face and the pacifier’s open end, causing what they called a “suction burn.”
“There’s just something that goes through your head, like disbelief. I mean, I thought it had to have been something else, there’s no way it could be something you trusted so much,” Milhone says. “It was hard for me to understand or wrap my head around the fact that this caused him harm.”
Because Milhone was not aware that such an injury was even possible with a pacifier, she is now hoping to raise awareness about what can happen with such an everyday object — even if the chances are unlikely.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the makers of the pacifier, Philips Avent, says they are investigating the situation.
“Nothing is more important than the satisfaction and safety of our Philips Avent family. We are aware that one of our customers had a specific situation arise and we are committed to investigating her concern,” they wrote. “We have a strict process in place to evaluate quality and safety concerns.”
The company also adds that their products “meet or exceed applicable regulatory requirements, including US CPSC requirements for children’s products.”
Today, Milhone says Jack’s burn is less noticeable, but he’s still uncomfortable laying on the side of his face that had the blister.
“You can still tell he’s very sensitive in that area, so we still put the cream on it, but he pulls away a lot,” she says. “He used to actually like to roll on that side, and he doesn’t roll on that side anymore like when he sleeps. He’ll like wake himself up as soon as his head touches the mattress.”
Milhone says she still gives Jack a pacifier but makes sure not to leave it with him after he falls asleep.
“I totally understand that this could have been like a one in a billion thing,” she says. “But still, I would never have put him to bed even if there was that one in a billion chance with a pacifier that could have harmed him.”