We’ve all been there—both as parents and personally (even if we don’t remember it): teething. The crying kiddo, the pain, and the fact that you’d do pretty much anything to stop the insanity. But what about those teething necklaces and bracelets your mom friends rave about? Well…about that.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a statement recently issued a warning to parents and caregivers of young children about how teething jewelry—worn by your cranky baby or the caregiver—can actually be potentially dangerous.
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How can parents soothe teething pain, anyway? Teething gels aren’t a great solution, either; the FDA notes that benzocaine-containing products (such as gels, sprays or ointments) can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition that reduces the red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen.
If you can’t use a gel or cream, what can you use? It’s this very question that leads plenty of parents to teething jewelry. Often marketed as a safe, “natural” alternative to other products, these items look like necklaces or bracelets are typically made from amber, marble, silicone or wood.
Following reports of serious injuries and tragically, strangulation deaths, the FDA now cautions parents to avoid teething jewelry altogether. If you think that adult supervision will reduce the risks, think again. According to the FDA, a seven-month-old infant choked on a wooden beaded teething bracelet—while under parental supervision. Luckily, the child was okay following a trip to the hospital.
The new warning from the FDA stresses using alternatives to soothe teething pain—and of course, avoiding teething jewelry. Instead, gently massage your baby’s gums with clean fingers. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that you can give your kiddo a firm rubber teething ring (but not the frozen kind). Always inspect the teething ring for damage and supervise your child while they’re gumming it.