The FDA Is Warning Against Teething Jewelry After Toddler’s Death

Two recent child injuries from teething jewelry have led the FDA to release an official statement against the use of teething jewelry for both adults and children. According to Buzzfeed News, one 7-month-old baby choked on wooden beads from a teething bracelet but did survive after being rushed to the hospital and treated. Unfortunately, another 18-month-old toddler, however, did not survive and died after being strangled by a teething necklace during a nap.

In their official statement, the FDA explicitly states that teething jewelry should not be worn by children in an attempt to alleviate discomfort and/or pain from teething or to be used as a form “sensory stimulation” in children with special needs, such as autism or ADHD.

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“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,” the FDA noted. “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, M.D.

“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. Given the breadth of the market for these teething necklaces and jewelry, we’re sharing this important safety information directly to consumers in order to help prevent injuries in infants and kids.”

teething jewelry
Image via Unsplash/ Paul Hanaoka

The FDA went on to describe the specific risks of teething jewelry, which include choking, strangulation, mouth injuries, and even infection. More specifically:

  • The risk of choking occurs if the jewelry breaks and the child swallows a bead of several bears and blocks their airway. This is especially concerning because children have a natural tendency to chew on things around them.
  • The risk of strangulation is, obviously, if the necklace is wrapped too tight, the child pulls on it, or it gets caught on something, like a crib or even a toy.
  • And there is also a risk of infection if one of the beads breaks or pierces the child’s skin or gums. As you may already know, teething jewelry claims to work as a result of succinic acid to relieve inflammation and pain, but it’s not totally clear how that affects the child if a bead breaks and he/she ingests it.

I have to admit that although I did not regularly use teething jewelry on my children, I did try out an amber teething necklace that I purchased at a local health store with my fourth baby. She was having a really hard time with teething at the same time she was fighting off a cold and we were going on a family trip to Disney World (a dream come true for us!), so I was desperate to try anything that would make her more comfortable.

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And maybe it was my sincere hope that it would work, maybe it was just a fluke, or maybe it was nothing at all, but I swear that it really did seem to help her sleep better and be comfortable during the day without any other medication or teething creams, so I definitely get the appeal of the teething jewelry. It just sounds too good to be true that there could be something so simple that could help your baby when you feel so helpless otherwise.

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But in this case, it might be something where it sounds too good to be true and even more important, something that is far more dangerous than is worth risking for your baby. So, for now, you may want to steer clear of teething jewelry and instead, try some old-fashioned methods of teething remedies to help your baby’s discomfort.

Have you ever used teething jewelry? Will this FDA recommendation change your views on them?

What do you think?

The FDA Is Warning Against Teething Jewelry After Toddler’s Death

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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