Ashley Bilek’s 2-year-old daughter, Madelynn, has been attached to her pacifier “since day one.”
Affectionately nicknamed “the bink,” Madelynn used to take naps with the pacifier. However, when it accidentally attached to her body and she woke up crying, Bilek vowed never to let her daughter sleep with anything in her crib again.
When Bilek heard her daughter crying after she was put down for a nap, the mother rushed in the room. She recalled to WOIO:
“When I picked her up she screamed and she grabbed her side. I lifted up her shirt and saw that she had this perfect circular wound on her. I didn’t know what it was.”
Bilek and her husband headed to the emergency room immediately. Madelynn was screaming the whole car ride there.
When they arrived at the hospital:
“The doctor looked at it and said, ‘That’s a burn.’ I was like, ‘I didn’t burn her!’ I showed her the clip and she said, ‘Yeah, that’s identical. It must have gotten too hot.'”
The plastic and rubber clip attached to Madelynn’s pacifier was the apparent culprit. When the toddler fell asleep on her JJ Cole pacifier, her body heat caused “the decorative rubber ring to adhere to the child’s skin.” Doctors equated the injury to a second-degree burn.
When Madelynn pulled the clip off her body, a thin layer of skin peeled off with it.
The initial treatment only worsened the unsightly wound. Bilek explained:
“Anything that stuck to her just pulled off more skin. When she went to the doctor’s office they had to rip all of her skin off and that caused even more irritation, so it kept spreading outward.”
WOIO reached out to the pacifier company, JJ Cole who responded with the following statement:
Nothing is more important to us than ensuring that children’s products are safe. At JJ Cole, we take our product safety responsibilities very seriously and are committed to making our products as safe as we possibly can. All of our products, including the referred to JJ Cole Pacifier Clip, meet US safety standards and undergo third party testing to further ensure we meet those standards.
Our customer service department has been in contact with this consumer several times since her initial call, at which time we immediately began to investigate the incident. There have been no other reports of this type of incident or injury for the JJ Cold Pacifier Clip. The material used to make the product is a standard TPE, commonly and safely found in a wide variety of infant and children’s products.
Dr. Anjay Khandelwal, the co-director of the Comprehensive Burn Center said that “burns” like those suffered by Madelynn aren’t uncommon. He explained that he’s seen other patients with similar injuries from sleeping on different objects. If an object is pressed against someone in a particular way, “it can actually cause damage to either the skin, the underlying tissue, or even sometimes the muscle.”
Khandelwal added that it’s crucial for parents to be aware of the potential dangers children face when being put to sleep:
“Be sure they’re not laying down on anything, there’s no toys or books they can by laying down on. They should be laying down on a nice clean surface, it’s the best way to avoid any problems.”
Bilek wants to make sure this accident doesn’t happen to any other families. She said:
“When I went to the store and picked something off the shelf for my baby, I didn’t think, you know, at the store you think it’s safe. I wasn’t thinking, ‘What can this do to my kid?’ I assumed that it was safe like we all hope when we by something. I just think people should be aware of what happened. And what could happen.”
For Bilek’s full interview, check out the video below.