Dummy Use: Parental Beliefs and Knowledge
Bruton, Cathy N.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Aims: The research was designed to gain insight into the beliefs and knowledge of parents in relation to the use of a dummy with their child. Method: A multiple methods design was used to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data from of 84 parents resident in England and Wales. Participants were required to complete a questionnaire regarding their beliefs and use of a dummy with their child. Data was analysed using both SPSS 17.0 (inferential statistics) and thematic analysis. Results: A significant relationship was found in terms of the association between dummy use and parental beliefs about speech development [2 (1, N = 84) = 6.77, p = 0.009] and dental development [2 (1, N=84) = 5.99, p = 0.014], with parents less inclined to use a dummy when they felt there were potential detrimental impacts. However, dummy use was still evident even when parents believed there to be detrimental factors involved in usage, indicating that other factors also influence the decision making process. At an early age, comforting and settling the child appear to outweigh any concern over potential detriments. Many parents still allow their child to have a dummy after two years of age, even though there is increased risk in terms of speech and dental development. Over 80% of parents choosing to use a dummy with their child would stop if use was “proven” to be detrimental to speech development, hearing and dental development. Conclusion: The importance of dummy use to some parents in settling their child should be considered when offering advice regarding any detrimental impact of use, including speech and dental development. Advice about speech and language development should target long term use, not discourage use altogether. Knowledge transfer is important in order for parents to make an informed choice regarding their child's upbringing.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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