This is lengthy but please read if you or someone you know uses soothie pacifiers.
I saw this earlier today on facebook and it scared the life out of me because I am guilty of letting my 10 month old baby girl use the newborn sized soothies because she doesn't 'like' the 3-6 month ones... Needless to say I immediately rounded up all her pacifiers and got rid of them and bought her the new ones. However I do want to share this family's story in hopes that this won't happen to you or your sweet baby!! So I copied and pasted her post.
Spending 4 weeks in the NICU afforded us plenty of time to learn all sorts of useless (or so we thought) information. Late one evening, one of the nurses taught us the reasoning behind the Soothie Pacifier design: if a child swallowed the pacifier, the holes on either side of the mouthpiece would allow air to pass through and would hopefully prevent suffocation. We were brand new parents and brand new to the Foster Care system, and we smiled and nodded and later said to ourselves, "Like a child could swallow a whole pacifier." Ha.
Last September, when G. was 10 months old, I got a phone call at work from our daycare: "Gabby swallowed her pacifier and can't breathe. We called 911, come now." I can't even begin to describe the panic as I dropped everything and ran. I made it to the daycare just in time to ride in the ambulance with our baby. I watched the tears streaming silently down her face and listened to the raspy breaths in her throat, and I've never felt so helpless. The paramedics had me hold the oxygen mask on her face as they raced to the hospital; they had prepared a tiny trach kit in case her breathing stopped all together. My husband met us at the ER; he made it from Magnolia to Canton in less than 20 minutes. We tried to answer questions and had to call the Agency and prayed and cried and watched the room fill with doctors, nurses, surgeons, specialists, and everyone who thought they could help. At one point, we heard the doctor shout, "she's not breathing!" and he flipped her over and whacked her back just enough to shift it in her esophagus to allow air to exchange again. At that point, they rushed her off to surgery and as a nurse walked me across the hospital to the waiting area, my knees went weak, I leaned against a pillar, and cried out to God to save my daughter. The nurse grabbed my arm, and said they were doing everything they could, and I said to her, "You don't understand. I cannot lose this child. I've waited so long to love her, I cannot lose her now." Family and friends joined us in the waiting and praying, and we finally got word that after she was sedated, the surgeon was able to remove the pacifier by stretching her esophagus with his fingers while using forceps to wiggle it out. By the time they got to it, it had lodged at the bottom of her throat; if he hadn't been able to get it out, his plan was to force it on down, then surgically remove it. We spent some time at Akron Children's for observation, and after a brief recovery period, Gabby has no lasting effects from the trauma.
We learned 3 things throughout the ordeal: 1) God is in control, always. 2) Kids are resilient. The day we'll never forget, thankfully she'll never remember. 3) Pacifiers are staged according to age; they are not One Size Fits All. And doctors and nurses and daycares and Agencies and pediatric websites and parenting books do not address the need for pacifiers to grow with a child; no one talks about pacifiers. As babies age, they need pacifiers that are made of harder rubber, ones that won't bend to fit entirely into the mouth; they should be taken away when the child is old enough to start chewing on it instead of sucking on it. We're grateful it happened under the supervision of a licensed daycare professional who responded exactly as needed to save Gabby's life; it could have just as easily happened in her crib overnight and we wouldn't have known until it was too late. So it's now our mission to educate parents on the importance of appropriate pacifier staging. If your child is older than 3-6 months, get rid of the soft hospital-issued pacifiers and invest in sturdy ones created for his/her age. It truly is a matter of life-and-death.
Her name is Kristine Rohrer Tennant and she posted this with hopes she could share it with the world.