A New Zealand mother has reached out on social media to warn other parents of the dangers of the Bonjela teething gel after her baby girl stopped breathing and was hospitalized because of it. In an attempt to raise awareness of how dangerous this product can be, Jessica Vermunt, the baby's mother, posted on Facebook explaining how her daughter became unresponsive soon after she applied the teething gel to her gums to try and alleviate her teething discomfort.
Having no idea of the risks of the gel, Vermunt gave her baby what she felt she needed to reduce her baby's pain. "I'm aware that she had more than normal but the point remains that this has the potential to kill your child and there is no real information or warnings about the severity of it," she states. "I had been at the doctor's four hours before she was rushed to hospital not breathing or responding to anything. The doctor was aware of the amount of Bonjela she was having and didn't think it was of concern at all [sic]".
With her baby close to death's door, Vermunt was flabbergasted on how such a seemingly harmless product could cause such a disaster. "[Doctors] diagnosed her with salicylate overdose. Salicylate is the active ingredient in Bonjela," the mother told NZME. Salicylates are chemicals that are naturally occurring in many fruits and vegetables and are found in medications such as Aspirin because of their pain-relieving abilities. Drugs.com reports that "salicylic acid and acetylsalicylic acid [derivatives of salicylates] have analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic (temperature-lowering) effects. The main risk of acetylsalicylic acid at therapeutic dosages is gastrointestinal irritation; however, it can be toxic if ingested in large quantities."
Some people question whether or not the incident was the fault of the company or that of the mother given the mother did admit to giving her baby more than the recommended dosage. In saying that, however, although the packaging does say that overdosing can be harmful, it fails to say that the gel has the ability to kill if used improperly. The baby girl is said to be recovering well but Newshub reports that it is unknown if there will be any future complications because of the baby's overdose.