Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Good Lovin' Is Senior's Secret for Good Marriage

DEAR ABBY: Please say something about the widespread use of pacifiers. They are used mostly to pacify the parents who stick it in the child's mouth to keep it quiet.

Putting a plug in a child's mouth, whether it's a genuine plug or a bottle (when used as a pacifier), causes the child to associate comfort and relief of stress with oral satisfaction, which may lead later in life to smoking, overeating or alcoholism.

The child's instinct to suck is usually satisfied by breast or bottle when the child is hungry.

And don't you hate to see a child who is old enough to walk still sucking on a bottle? -- BARBARA SNADER, CHILD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

DEAR BARBARA: Yes. But the people who most love to see a child who is old enough to walk still sucking on a bottle are the orthodontists.