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The jewelry, which can be made from a variety of materials including amber, wood, marble, and silicone, is often used to ease teething pain in children. Some parents and caregivers also use it to provide sensory stimulation to children with special needs or to discourage them from chewing on their clothes or parts of their body.
But the FDA says parents should stop using the jewelry. The agency states that it has received reports of babies and children seriously injured by these products.
In the most serious case, an 18-month-old child died of strangulation after falling asleep while wearing his amber teething necklace, the agency reports. In another, a 7-month-old baby choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet and was taken to a hospital.
Potential dangers associated with teething jewelry include:
- Choking: This could happen if a small bead breaks off and your child swallows it.
- Strangulation: If a necklace catches on your child's crib or is wrapped too tightly around his neck, strangulation can occur.
- Injury to the mouth: A piece of jewelry could pierce your child's gums.
- Infection: Infections can result from any injury or irritation of the gums.
- Release of succinic acid: This substance is found in amber teething necklaces and could possibly be released into your baby's bloodstream, according to the FDA. The agency says it has not evaluated whether the substance is safe or effective.
This warning is the FDA's latest against teething products. During the past three years, the regulating body has also cautioned parents against using topical teething creams, gels and ointments containing benzocaine and other local anesthetics, and homeopathic teething tablets.
Luckily, there are alternatives for relieving your baby's teething discomfort. To ease your little one's pain, the FDA recommends following the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on alternative approaches, such as rubbing a clean finger over your child's gums or using a firm rubber teething ring. For more ideas, check out BabyCenter's teething remedies resource page.
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