FDA warns against teething necklaces, bracelets over choking, strangulation concerns


3-month-old baby with amber necklace lying in bed

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Food and Drug Administration is warning parents not to give their children teething necklaces or bracelets that are commonly used to relieve pain or provide sensory stimulation.

The FDA made the announcement Thursday, saying it has received reports of death and serious injuries caused by the teething jewelry, including strangulation and choking. In one case, the FDA says an 18-month-old  boy was strangled to death by his amber teething necklace during a nap.

The products in question are produced and sold by a large number of manufacturers and individuals. The beads of the products may be made with various materials such as 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,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “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.”

The FDA says choking can happen if the jewelry breaks and a small bead enters the child’s throat or airway. Strangulation can occur if a necklace is wrapped too tightly around the child’s neck or if the necklace catches an object such as a crib. Other concerns include injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewelry irritates or pierces the child’s gums.

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

“Consumers should consider following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations of alternative ways for treating teething pain, such as rubbing inflamed gums with a clean finger or using a teething ring made of firm rubber,” said Gottlieb. “Given the breadth of the market for these teething necklaces and jewelry, we’re sharing this important safety information directly to consumers in order to help prevent injuries in infants and kids.”

The FDA encourages consumers and health care professionals to report injuries or adverse events that occur from using teething jewelry by filing a report at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online at MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.

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