Parents and healthcare professionals may be advised to limit the amount they utilise dummies during paediatric care, according to a new study.
Research carried out on 128 pre-school children in Patagonia, Chile, looked into the sucking behaviour of the children by talking to parents and compared it to the incidence of speech impediments.
Clarita Barbosa, who led the study, pointed out that the observational nature of the results gathered means that any interpretation must be cautiously carried out.
However, the report showed that youngsters who used a dummy or sucked their fingers for more than three years were three times more likely to develop problems with speech.
"These results suggest extended use of sucking outside of breast-feeding may have detrimental effects on speech development in young children," said Ms Barbosa.
A recent study at Duke University and North Carolina Central University indicated that children who are exposed to lead during infancy may develop lower scores on reading tests.