Posted on Oct 16, 2013

Babies are often given teething necklaces when their teeth are coming in. But are these teething necklaces safe? New concerns and reports show that they might not be more helpful than harmful to teething babies.

The New York Times reports on the new fad of using teeth necklaces for babies. These Baltic amber necklaces have become quite popular in the United States and Europe for easing the pain of babies going through teething. “Retailers claim that when warmed by the baby’s body temperature, the amber releases a pain-relieving substance that is then absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream,” according to The Times.

But apparently there is no evidence to support the claim that the teething necklaces have this effect as babies cannot communicate about what effects the necklaces are having. However the main issue with these necklaces is the risk they pose in choking babies, which can seriously occur any time a child is left unattended. One pediatrician who has blogged about the dangers of these necklaces told The Times, “The risk is two-fold — strangulation and choking. And that’s not only for these teething necklaces. In general practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that infants wear any jewelry.”

Some countries have already taken steps to ban the necklaces and issue warnings. The Times reports, “In 2010, Health Canada, the country’s federal department of public health, determined that the necklaces were enough of an issue to warrant a consumer product safety warning that highlighted the strangulation risk. France and Switzerland have banned sale of the necklaces in pharmacies.” Markets selling the necklaces are aware of the health concerns and are trying to claim that the necklaces are actually safe because they are knotted between each bead so if it breaks only one bead will actually come off.

But pediatricians are unconvinced about the safety about these products and one said, “But one loose bead is enough for a child to choke on.” The Times further reports, “The necklaces are produced and sold by smaller vendors, the lack of manufacturing standards makes it impossible to guarantee that any safety clasps will come apart as intended if the necklace becomes caught on anything, increasing the potential for strangulation.”

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Gerry Oginski
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