When our little ones are teething and hurting, we do whatever we can to make them feel better. For years, many parents have turned to teething necklaces and bracelets to help relieve teething pain.
Now, the FDA is asking parents to stop using teething necklaces and bracelets.
The warning comes after an 18-month old died after being strangled by his amber teething necklace during a nap. in another case, a 7-month-old, who was under parental supervision at the time, choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet. Thankfully, the baby was taken to hospital and survived.
"We know that teething necklaces and jewelry products have become increasingly popular among parents and caregivers who want to provide relief for children's teething pain and sensory stimulation for children with special needs, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said in a statement.
"We're concerned about the risks we've observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewelry puts children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death," he explains.
The FDA's warning echoes previous calls from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP doesn't recommend jewelry of any kind of babies. According to the AAP, claims that amber teething necklaces reduce pain, stimulate the thyroid glans or reduce inflammation are not backed up by scientific research, and the risks outweigh the benefits.
"The risk is two-fold—strangulation and choking," pediatrician Natasha Burgert explains via healthychildren.org.
Scott Gottlieb of the FDA says "consumers should consider following the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations of alternative ways for treating teething pain, such as rubbing inflamed gums with a clean finger or using a teething ring made of firm rubber."
The FDA and the AAP both recommend parents do not use benzocaine teething gels as "benzocaine and other local anesthetics can cause methemoglobinemia, a serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced."
Instead, the AAP suggests parents provide chew toys and cold things for baby to chew on, and talk to their pediatrician about whether acetaminophen is needed if those methods don't seem to be helping enough.
Everyone wants their teething baby to feel better, but we also want them to be safe.