FDA Warns Parents Against Amber Teething Necklaces And Bracelets

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that jewelry worn by babies and toddlers as necklaces, bracelets or anklets while they are going through they’re teething stage can be a choking or strangulation hazard for them.

Most of these pieces of jewelry are made particularly from amber. They may be pretty but babies can be strangulated during sleep by the necklaces or they can choke on the beads should the string break and the child accidentally swallows them. 

The FDA reports include an 18 month old child who was wearing the amber beaded necklace and was strangulated by it during his sleep and died.  The report also includes a 7-month old baby being taken to the hospital after it swallowed a wooden bead and choked on it. 

Parents purchase these amber colored jewelry because they are promoted to soothe the child’s gums and reduce the pain during the teething stage. Some of the promotions border on the mystical and magical rather than scientific facts.

The claims by the manufacturer particularly of the amber beads is that as the baby’s body temperature warms the beads in the necklace, a pain-relieving chemical is released which is absorbed by the skin and reduces the pain in the baby’s gums during the teething stage.

The chemical which is called succinate or succinic acid to date has not been tested by the FDA against claims by the manufacturer to the jewelry’s effectiveness or safety.

Research shows that nearly all the amber teething necklaces containing succinic acid are the Baltic amber which is fossilized resin from the sap of conifer trees.  The theory is that the succinic acid gets into the bloodstream of the baby helping to ease the baby’s pain.  The key word here is theory.

Scientific fact is that succinic acid melts at 187 °C but is somewhat water soluble. So a baby’s body temperature wouldn’t have any affect. However, if it’s true that succinc acid is somewhat water soluble then perhaps it may be drawn out by the baby’s sweat but no tests have been made to conclude that this is true.

Dr. Jaime Friedman, a San Diego-based pediatrician, and who is an official spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and affiliated with Children’s Primary Care Medical Group lauded the FDA for issuing the warning.

Friedman who sees patients wearing a teething necklace gives unsolicited warnings to parents of the danger risks of choking and strangulation and insists that they not be used during sleep or when the children will be out of their caregiver’s sight.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends caregivers use a chilled teething ring (not frozen) or to just rub a clean finger gently against their baby’s gums.  The teething stage is for a short period of time.  Why risk the dangers?

Call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 if you are aware of any injuries sustained by children from teething jewelries. 

FDA Warns Parents Against Amber Teething Necklaces And Bracelets