Little Abigail Civitano prefers to have a pacifier in her mouth -- no matter what she's doing. Her mom says she finds it on the floor constantly.
"If I have a sink on hand I'll rinse it off in the sink or I'll use a water bottle to sort of rinse it, but otherwise I'll put it in my mouth and clean it that way if I have no other option," said Katie Civitano.
Even though it sounds unsanitary, new research shows Abigail's mother could be helping her develop fewer allergies. New research in the journal Pediatrics looked at 184 kids, and found children whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them had a lower risk of developing both eczema and asthma.
"So the theory is here that the parents saliva which contains normal bacteria can actually colonize our children with the good bacteria and that may have incredible health benefits," said Dr. Elissa Rubin with Happy and Healthy Pediatrics.
Most experts say if your baby's pacifier falls on the floor in your home you should run it under hot water. If it falls on the sidewalk outside -- that's a different story.
"At least once a day, really try to wash the pacifier well either on the top rack of the dishwasher or just with hot water and soap," Dr. Rubin said.
Dr. Rubin also says to throw a pacifier away if it has cracks or tears, because those are perfect places for bacteria to grow.
Katie Civitano says she is trying to wean her daughter off the pacifier, but this 17-month-old may not be ready just yet.
Vinita Nair - CBS News
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