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FDA Issues Warning on Teething Necklaces After Death of Toddler

While they are meant to help relieve pain, you may actually be putting baby in serious danger.
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ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
December 21, 2018
baby holding teething bracelet
Image: Crystal Marie Sing

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising parents to stay away from teething necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry. The recent report calls out the dangers associated with these household products, and suggests parents use teething rings instead.

The warning follows specific reports from parents who used teething necklaces on their babies to soothe mouth pains. One case ended tragically, after an 18-month-old toddler was strangled to death by his amber teething necklace while taking a nap. In addition to strangulation, the FDA also calls out the potential for injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewelry irritates or pierces the child’s gums.

Another instance mentioned in the report involved a 7-month-old who, while under parental supervision, choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Amber teething necklaces have long been controversial among parents. Fans of the amber teething necklace claim that baby’s body warmth encourages trace amounts of the succinic acid to be released onto the skin, which is then absorbed by the body where it works to relieve teething pain. But a common misconception around Baltic amber teething necklaces is that the amber beads themselves are designed for baby to bite on, which isn’t the case. That combined with the choking hazard is enough to make many question safety concerns for baby.

Because teething necklaces are so common, many parents are unaware of the dangers some of them pose. Here’s what the FDA recommends:

  • Do not use necklaces, bracelets, or any other jewelry marketed for relieving teething pain due to the risk of strangulation or choking
  • Be aware that jewelry marketed for relieving teething pain for people with special needs can lead to strangulation or choking
  • Read the AAP’s recommendation for the best practices to ease the pain
  • Talk to your pediatrician to find alternate ways to reduce discomfort for your youngster
  • Avoid teething creams and benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges for mouth and gum pain in infants and kids younger than 2 years old

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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