According to new guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration, teething rings could be potentially fatal for babies. There are various types of teething tools and devices on the market, including necklaces with beads and a variety of other jewelry. Most of these devices are created by hard plastic and were previously thought to be helpful when a baby begins teething. When an infant experiences the stages of their teeth growing in, their mouths can become very sensitive and painful. Many parents opt for using teething devices to help relieve the symptoms and soothe them. However, as the FDA warns, some of these teething devices can be more dangerous than one might think.
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Recently, the FDA received a report about a seven-month-old baby who was hospitalized for ingesting a beaded teething necklace. The child was under watchful parental supervision, but it proves that these beaded string-style necklaces can still be potentially dangerous, and a major choking hazard. Other teething devices can still be hazardous, including the teething necklaces that are worn directly by babies. For example, the FDA reports that an eighteen-month-old child became strangled by a teething necklace after the accessory became tangled while he was napping. Although this was only one isolated case by the FDA, parents should still take note about the potential dangers from these teething accessories.
According to the new guidelines presented by the FDA, parents should avoid purchasing teething jewelry, such as those designed to be worn on the ankles, around the child’s neck, or on their wrists. Many of these teething devices are primarily created with amber and can release succinic acid, or an anti-inflammatory. The FDA has not tested whether these devices are safe for children, but there are regulations about how amber can be a choking hazard for young babies.
Parents should also be on the lookout for gels and creams that advertise numbness and pain relief for teething. The American Academy of Pediatrics says to avoid them entirely, as they typically can be dissolved from a child’s mouth quickly. One major ingredient to be wary of is belladonna, which is a noted poison. Many of these pain relief options are not tested regularly, and their safety is highly questionable. According to FDA regulations, gel and cream options may even contain an ingredient called benzocaine, which is known to be safe for adults. However, for children under the age of two, it can cause a potentially fatal condition called methemoglobinemia, where not enough oxygen gets into the bloodstream.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends avoiding frozen teething devices. Often times, these frozen teething devices can cause harsh damage to a child’s gums. If used, parents are encouraged to place the items into the fridge instead.
According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents can help soothe teething pain with two methods. First, you can try to manually massage the baby’s gums with clean hands, or try to find them a rubber teething ring. We hope that some of these recommendations are helpful, and as always, try to remember that experiencing teething is normal, and won’t cause pain forever.