Having a baby is pretty stressful. There is constantly a million things to think about, and no matter what you do, you're going to end up having someone tell you you're doing it wrong.
The only thing you can do, is keep an eye on your baby and do everything possible to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. But sometimes our best efforts end up as the start of something terrible.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a warning after one mother's attempts at helping her baby through his teething stage ended up costing him his life.
The FDA reports that the 18-month-old boy was strangled to death by his teething necklace. They haven't released many details about the incident, however they explained that this can happen "if a necklace is wrapped too tightly around the child’s neck or if the necklace catches on an object such as a crib."
The amber teething necklace is a a natural method some parents use to help their babies soothe their sore gums. It's thought that the baby's mouth heats the amber and releases oils that soothe the pain. They've become increasingly popular in recent years, and many mothers swear by them.
But the FDA is issuing a warning to parents now who may not have realized the dangers that these necklaces can introduce if not monitored carefully. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner released a statement on the incident.
“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.
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.
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."
There are other risks associated with teething jewelry too, according to the FDA they can also cause chocking and even infections.
"The risks of using jewelry for relieving teething pain include choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth and infection. Choking can happen if the jewelry breaks and a small bead enters the child’s throat or airway. Strangulation can occur if a necklace is wrapped too tightly around the child’s neck or if the necklace catches an object such as a crib. Other concerns include injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewelry irritates or pierces the child’s gums."
The FDA also warned that the anti-inflammatory effects that manufacturers claim have not been evaluated yet, and in fact, these acids may be harmful.
"Amber teething necklaces contain a substance called succinic acid, which allegedly may be released into an infant’s blood stream in unknown quantities," The FDA release states. "Manufacturers of these products often claim succinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves teething and joint pain. The FDA has not evaluated these claims for safety or effectiveness and recommends parents not use these products."
The FDA also warns of some other dangerous teething products.
"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 for mouth and gum pain. Benzocaine and other local anesthetics can cause methemoglobinemia, a serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced. This condition is life-threatening and can result in death."