Most parents are willing to try just about anything to soothe a teething child.
But according to a recent warning from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), you’d be wise to avoid one increasingly popular remedy — trendy teething jewelry that won’t provide much in the way of relief and could actually expose your little one to a significant risk of mouth injury, infection, choking, strangulation, and even death.
Is Bling Really a Solution for Teething Pain?
Dangerous teething bling, including necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, are made from beads of amber, wood, marble, or silicon and can be worn by either parent or child. While mainly marketed to relieve teething pain in infants and toddlers, teething jewelry may also be used to provide sensory stimulation to people with autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Baltic amber teething jewelry is particularly popular, with manufacturers touting its purported ability to release small amounts of succinic acid when warmed by the skin. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, this substance supposedly produces an analgesic effect that relieves teething and joint pain.
In reality, these claims are little more than hype. It’s true that amber releases succinic acid, but only when heated to at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if the body could generate that kind of heat, there’s no scientific data to support claims that teething jewelry, amber or otherwise, provides any sort of pain relief.
FDA Teething Jewelry Warning
Unfortunately, dubious claims and pseudoscience aren’t the only issues with these products. In December 2018, the FDA warned parents and caregivers not to use teething jewelry for pain relief or sensory stimulation because of the potential for serious – and even deadly – injuries, including:
- Strangulation: A child can be strangled if a teething necklace is wrapped too tightly around their neck or if the necklace catches on a crib or other object. The FDA’s warning actually followed the tragic death of an 18-month old child who was strangled in his sleep by an amber teething necklace.
- Choking: A child may choke if tiny beads or whole pieces of jewelry break off and become lodged in their airway. According to the FDA, a 7-month-old infant choked on a bead from a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision. The child was hospitalized but fortunately survived.
- Mouth Injury and Infections: There’s also a chance that teething bling will irritate a child’s mouth or that a piece of jewelry will pierce their gums, resulting in a serious mouth injury or infection.
Safely Relieve Your Child’s Teething Pain
Teething usually begins when children are between 3 and 7 months old, and will occasionally cause irritability, crying, a low-grade fever, excessive drooling, and the need to chew on something hard. The gums may also appear swollen and tender.
To safely relieve your child’s teething pain, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends gently massaging or rubbing their gums with your finger. You can also try a firm, rubber teething ring. However, stay away from frozen teething rings, as they can become too hard and could cause injury. Instead, try using a damp washcloth that’s been twisted and frozen.
Topical pain relievers aren’t very effective, as they wash out of the mouth within minutes. Benzocaine-based products and homeopathic teething remedies that contain belladonna can also cause dangerous side effects and should be avoided.
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Teething generally won’t cause vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of illness. Consult with a pediatrician and seek appropriate medical attention if your child appears sick or experiences a concerning fever.
As a nationally recognized child injury lawyer, Attorney Jeffrey Killino has successfully handled a wide range of choking and strangulation cases. If your child was injured by teething jewelry or another defective product, our attorneys, paralegals, and investigators will commit the time and resources necessary to ensure your family obtains the compensation and justice you deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 1-877-875-2927.