December 21, 2018
Necklaces and bracelets created from materials such as silicone, amber and wood and designed for teething infants have been a popular choice for millennial parents because they're stylish, functional, and pain-relieving for their little ones. This modern approach to teething rings has also been used with older children for sensory stimulation in kids with autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
But parents may have to rethink their choice.
On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement alerting parents and caregivers of the potential serious safety risks in using this jewelry and advises that these items should not be used to provide pain relief in teething babies or sensory stimulation to those with special needs.
"The FDA received reports of death and serious injuries to infants and children, including strangulation and choking, caused by teething jewelry, such as amber teething necklaces," agency officials said.
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An 18-month-old child was strangled to death by an amber teething necklace while taking a nap. In another incident, a 7-month-old was hospitalized after choking on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet.
"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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Instead of parents and caregivers utilizing this jewelry, Gottlieb suggests they follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations of alternative ways for treating teething pain, including rubbing inflamed gums with a clean finger or using a teething ring made of firm rubber.
In addition to avoiding using jewelry to relieve teething pain, the FDA continues to recommend that caregivers avoid using teething creams, benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges to treat oral pain. Benzocaine and other local anesthetics can cause a serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced, which can lead to death.