Teething necklaces and beads are a popular alternative treatment to teething pain. But, are they effective and safe? The answer is no. Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, offers the following information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The FDA released an official warning in December 2018 after receiving reports of children choking on beads that break off and an 18-month-old being strangled to death by an amber necklace during a nap.
Teething necklaces and bracelets are made of amber, wood, marble or silicone. They are marketed to relieve teething pain and sometimes are used to provide sensory stimulation to people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that infants wear any jewelry. Suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under a year old and among the top five causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
Parents who choose to use these necklaces are advised to:
- Always supervise your child if wearing the necklace or bracelet.
- Have your child wear the necklace on a wrist or ankle and not around his or her neck.
- Remove the necklace or bracelet when your child is unattended, even if it is only for a short period of time.
- Remove the necklace or bracelet while your child is sleeping (day or night).
- Consider using alternate forms of teething pain relief (see suggestions below).
- Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have concerns or questions about your child's health.
Safer Ways to Soothe a Teething Baby:
There are many teething-pain relievers that can soothe your baby's sore gums safely. Here are a few:
- Chew toys. Plastic and rubber toys are great for soothing aching gums.
- Cold things. For help numbing and easing the ache and inflammation, try using damp washcloths that have been twisted and frozen (tie one end in a knot for better gnawing). Avoid teething rings that are frozen solid; they are too hard for children's mouths.
- Massage. A light, gentle rub or massage might give your little one a lot of relief. First, wash your hands, then massage the sore areas in your baby's mouth with your finger or knuckle.
- Medicine. When your baby is having a really tough time, ask your pediatrician about giving a dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol). Note: Numbing gels or creams that contain benzocaine are not recommended for infants.