Are amber teething necklaces safe?

Dr. Dina Kulik discusses safety issues around amber teething necklaces, and suggests substitutes for your little one's pain.

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My friends swear by amber teething necklaces and gave me some at my baby shower. Are they safe?

Most teething necklaces and bracelets are made of amber, wood, marble or silicone. They are marketed to relieve teething pain and sometimes are used to provide sensory stimulation to people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Unfortunately, we don’t have any scientific evidence that teething necklaces are effective or safe. In fact, they’re potentially dangerous because of the risk of choking—if a child were to break the necklace and swallow the beads—and strangulation. I don’t recommend teething necklaces, and Health Canada warns parents not to use them as products that tie around a baby’s neck can cause serious injury or death.

Health Canada warns that parents should never tie necklaces, strings, ribbons or chains around a baby’s neck or attach them to a crib. These items can become tightly twisted around the neck, even when your baby is sleeping. Strangulation can also occur if a necklace gets caught on a piece of furniture or hook.

In December of 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement from the FDA saying children should not use teething jewelry, as it can lead to choking or strangulation. The warning came after reports of children choking on beads that broke off necklaces and an 18-month-old being strangled to death by an amber necklace during a nap.

Instead, try a teething toy, which will help distract your kiddo from the pain. There are all kinds of toys out there—plush, plastic, wooden, even chillable—and what works for your little one just depends on their personal preference.

Read more:
Is there such thing as a teething fever?
7 teething myths
If teething gels are dangerous, how can I relieve my baby’s teething pain?

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