Amber necklace

  • Following the death of an 18-month-old who was strangled by his amber teething necklace, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents about the dangers of jewellery marketed for teething.
  • "The safety and effectiveness of teething jewellery to treat teething pain and/or provide sensory stimulation have not been established," the FDA said in a press release.
  • Amber and other teething necklaces are available from major retailers in South Africa. 

Following the death of an 18-month-old who was strangled by his amber teething necklace, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents about the dangers of jewellery marketed for teething, People reported.

"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," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

See also: Johnson & Johnson tumbles after report says it knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos

Amber teething necklaces appear to be something of a fad in South African and are available from major online retailers, while silicon teething jewellery and bead necklaces are also widely sold.

Teething jewellery made from amber, wood, marble, or silicone is dangerous for babies

According to the FDA, any jewellery made from amber, wood, marble, or silicone that an adult can wear should not be given to a teething child, even if it is marketed to help with teething pain. Necklaces and bracelets made from these materials, and especially those that have beads, can strangle or choke a child who uses them and potentially be fatal.

There are safe and approved alternatives to teething jewellery parents can use instead

Rather than use potentially life-threatening objects for teething, the FDA and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend parents give babies firm rubber teething rings to help with pain. Parents and caregivers can also gently massage a baby's gums with a clean finger to help soothe them, according to the AAP.

In addition to teething jewellery, the AAP also warns against the use of frozen rubber teethers which can become too hard and "cause more harm than good," according to the AAP website. Special tablets sold to relieve gum pain like may also contain dangerous a plant poison called belladonna and gels with benzocaine are dangerous too.

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