Hilary Barry’s parenting advice for dummies: Don’t clean them

Hilary Barry has reminded parents of young children that a little dirt never hurt anyone – quite the opposite, in fact.

Speaking on “The 3pm pick up with Hilary Barry” show on The Hits this week, Barry quoted a new study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical immunology, which found that sterilising dummies with antiseptic solution has been linked to children developing food allergies.

“You know the three-second rule for food? Or is it five seconds?” Barry asked co-host Estelle Clifford.

“I’ve got news for all the parents. You should be doing the same for your dummies. When dummy drops on the ground, instigate the five-second rule,” she added.

Barry explained that the study shows “we’re all cleaning those dummies too much and children are not building their immune systems up enough as a result”.

“It’s just getting rid of the good bugs,” she said.

“We can’t be doing that any more.”

The Barwon Infant Study compared dummy use and cleaning methods among infants at six months of age and those with a confirmed food allergy at 1 year of age in more than 700 participants.

It found that infants whose dummies were sterilised with an antiseptic solution were more likely to have a diagnosed food allergy at the age of 1.

The study found no increase in risk of food allergy at 1 year of age among dummy users when the dummies were washed in tap water, boiling water, put in the parent’s own mouth, or not washed at all before being given to infants at 6 months of age.

“This research should not discourage the cleaning of dummies, as this is a vital step in keeping a child safe from the more immediate risk of infectious diseases,” Centre of Food and Allergy Research investigator and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute PhD candidate Victoria Soriano said.

“There is also no evidence from this study that cleaning dummies by other methods is harmful,” she added.

“These findings support the growing recognition of the importance of good bacteria, known as ‘microbiome’, in our mouth and gut on healthy growth and development.”

Barry hands over the 3pm show reins

Hilary Barry has been hosting the 3pm show on The Hits while Laura McGoldrick has been on maternity leave.

She has now handed the reins back to McGoldrick.


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