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FDA Says Teething Jewelry Might Not Be Safe After an Infant Is Strangled

Here's what experts recommend instead.

Lesliev2001/Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning parents not to use teething jewelry following the death of an 18-month-old. On Thursday, the agency issued a warning that the jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, is unsafe for children due to the risk of choking or strangulation.

“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,” explained FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

“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 warning comes after an infant was recently strangled by an amber teething necklace while napping. The FDA also reported a seven-month-old who choked on a wooden teething bracelet. The child, who was being supervised by his parents at the time, survived but the agency says the incident illustrates the danger of the jewelry.

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“Choking can happen if the jewelry breaks and a small bead enters the child’s throat or airway,” the report describes, adding, “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.”

Parents are advised to instead follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for soothing teething pain, such as using rubber teething rings or rubbing irritated gums with a clean finger.

And necklaces, bracelets, and anklets aren’t the only teething-related products that can be harmful to young children. The FDA also recommends that parents “avoid using teething creams, benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges for mouth and gum pain.” Any parent or caretaker who experiences an “adverse event” with a teething product is asked to report it to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.