FDA alerts parents to risks of teething necklaces, bracelets after death of 18-month old

FDA also warns to avoid teething creams

(iStock/Clint Scholz)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting parents, caregivers and health care providers about safety risks involved with using jewelry used for teething.

The FDA reports receiving reports that such items can cause serious injuries or even death to infants and children. There have been reports of strangulation and choking caused by teething jewelry.

The teething products come in different forms including necklace, bracelet or anklet and can be worn by either an adult or child. According to the FDA the products are sold by a large number of manufacturers and individuals.

They are usually used to relieve teething pain or provide sensory stimulation for those with special needs. The beads of the jewelry are sometimes made with materials like amber, wood, marble or silicone.

“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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

The FDA has been alerted to reports of injury, including one death. A 7-month old child choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet while being watched by a parent, that child was taken to a hospital. Another incident involved an 18-month old child who was strangled to death while taking a nap.

The FDA is also warning that caregivers avoid using teething creams, benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges for mouth and gum pain as they can cause methemoglobinemia. That can result in the amount of oxygen carried through the blood being reduced, it's a life-threatening condition.

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