Benzocaine Isn’t the Only Teething Remedy That Could Hurt Your Baby

Published on December 21, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

Apparently, oral benzocaine painkillers aren’t the only teething remedies that pose a danger to children.

Just yesterday, in fact, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents and caregivers to avoid teething jewelry, after one such product caused the death of a child.

Teething Jewelry Poses Choking, Strangulation Risks

Teething jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, can be worn by adults or children. The beads of teething jewelry may be made from amber, wood, marble or silicone.

In addition to teething pain, the products are often used by people with special needs, such as autism or ADHD, to provide sensory stimulation or redirect chewing on clothes or body parts.

Unfortunately, the FDA received several reports of children being harmed by teething jewelry. In one case, an 18-month-old child was strangled to death by an amber teething necklace. In another, a 7-month-old baby was rushed to the hospital after choking on a bead.

In addition to choking and strangulation, amber teething necklaces contain a substance called succinic acid that may be released into an infant’s blood stream in unknown quantities.

Manufacturers of these products often claim succinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves teething and joint pain. However, the FDA has not evaluated these claims for safety and effectiveness.

Teething Drug Warnings and Recalls

This isn’t the first time the FDA has issued a warning for dangerous teething remedies.

In fact, the agency alerted parents and caregivers to the dangers of Baby Orajel and other oral benzocaine painkillers in May, after the products were linked to a potentially-deadly blood disorder called methemoglobinemia.

Among other things, the FDA asked manufactures to discontinue marketing over-the-counter benzocaine oral painkillers for use in infants and children under the age of 2.

The FDA issued a similar warning for homeopathic teething tablets in September 2016, due to a potential for belladonna poisoning.

Various retailers subsequently pulled the products from their shelves, while teething tablet recalls were announced by Hyland’s Homeopathic and Raritan Pharmaceuticals.

According to the FDA, far safer teething remedies include:

  • Gently rubbing or massaging the gums with a clean finger
  • Giving the child a teething ring made of firm rubber. However, make sure the teething ring is not frozen and always supervise the child during use.

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