The pull test is a simple safety test you should always do before using a soother – but we’ve discovered more than half of parents don’t know about it.


We all know dummies can safely calm some babies, help them sleep at night, or work as a substitute for thumb sucking. There’s also good evidence that they can reduce the risk of cot death.

While a soother is not for everyone, if you do use one, there’s a quick and easy test you must do to make sure it’s safe to use, EVERY time you give it to your baby.

It’s called the Pull Test and you’ll find it in the instructions that come with most soothers. Watch this 30-second video to show you how...

And yet, given that it’s such an important test, it’s not well known. We carried out a survey with soother-manufacturer MAM and found that 58% of parents have never heard of the Pull Test.

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How to do the soother Pull Test

It only takes a few seconds to check your soother is safe.

Simply grab the dummy’s knob in one hand and the teat in the other and pull it firmly in all directions. If you spot any tears or weaknesses, it’s time to throw the soother away.

So why don’t we all know about this simple Pull Test?

Our survey found that 73% of parents say they read the instructions that come with the dummy, but only 48% have heard of the Pull Test. That’s probably because it’s not something that you hear talked about very often.

Those of you who did know about it had found out through:

  • Reading the packaging – 27%
  • Reading an online article – 20%
  • A healthcare professional – 10%

And the good news is that when you do know about the test, it’s easy to incorporate into daily life, with 27% testing soothers before every use and 20% testing at least once a day.

Best of all, an overwhelming 77% of you said you’d start doing the Pull Test now you knew about it.

What signs of wear and tear should you look for?

There are a few common signs that it’s time to change your dummy. Keep an eye out for:

  • discolouration of the teat
  • holes or tears
  • any sticky or weak spots

If you spot any of these, or a combination, it’s time to change the soother.

How often should you replace a dummy?

The recommendation from reputable dummy manufactures like MAM is to change your child’s soother every 1 to 2 months. However, our survey showed that only 35% of parents always do it this often.

We found 14% change a dummy at least once every 4 weeks, and 21% every 5-8 weeks. Meanwhile, 30% of parents change a dummy when it looks like it needs changing.

And remember, make sure not to leave a soother near a heat source or in the sterilisation solution for longer than recommended, as it’s a sure way to weaken the teat.

How do you sterilise a dummy?

We found that 36% of parents sterilise their baby’s soother every day and 15% make sure to do it a few times a week. Meanwhile, 10% re-sterilise every time it’s dropped on the floor.

There are a few different ways to make sure your dummy is safely sterilised. Some soothers come with a small sterilising box that you can sterilise in the microwave. This will keep them sterile for over 48 hours. However, you can also immerse them in boiling water.

Make sure to boil the dummy for up to 5 minutes and ensure it’s completely cooled before you let your baby touch it. Remember to check that no hot water has accumulated in the gaps between the teat and the knob.


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