Written by Tara Carnegie
Are Teething Necklaces Safe?
The answer is NO. Any teething necklace worn by a newborn, infant, or toddler is unsafe.
There are two primary risks here.
The first risk is that necklace beads will break apart or pop off the necklace itself, posing a major choking hazard.
The second risk is that anything worn around the neck poses a strangulation hazard.
There are also secondary risks.
Some necklaces are made of questionable materials and questionable claims about their safety or health impacts. Avoid any teething products that make claims about health benefits of chewing or ingesting any materials or substances that are on or within the necklace. That brings us to the popular Amber Teething Necklaces.
Are Amber Teething Necklaces Safe?
Absolutely not. As of a few years ago, many jewelry and baby product manufacturers and vendors are making extraordinary claims about the impacts of Amber on not only teething pain but also the health and well-being of your child.
Succinic Acid Claims: Advocates of amber teething necklaces claim that during chewing, the amber releases succinic acid that acts as a natural painkiller, can reduce drooling, and help the immune system. There is no scientific or medical truth to these claims.
Dangers of Succinic Acid: In fact, according to PubChem (National Institutes of Health), succinic acid can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and upper respiratory tract.
Not only that, but the FDA put out a statement a few months ago, officially stating that parents should not use any teething necklaces due to risk of strangulation and unsubstantiated medical claims (like with the amber teething necklaces).
How to Soothe a Teething Baby?
The good news is that while we do not recommend teething necklaces for babies, there are thousands of awesome teething options available in your home and in stores. Here are some awesome options, but be sure to also check out our list of the best teething toys of the year:
Teething Necklaces For Mom. Try out a rubber or silicone teething necklace worn by mom or dad (both natural rubber and silicone are safe materials for teething toys). These are a great way to avoid the hazards associated with your baby wearing the teething necklace. With these new necklaces, such as those offered by the popular ItiBity and Chewlery brands, parents can wear a stylish teething necklaces that their baby is free to grab onto and chew while being held, cuddled, or while in a baby carrier. Definitely check them out for a safe alternative to teething necklaces!
Teething Toys for Baby to Hold. Find a safe teething toy designed for newborns, infants and toddlers to hold onto and chew as needed. There are so many great teething toy options out there, including ones that can attach to a stroller, swing, bouncer seat, or anywhere else. Your baby will love grabbing his or her own teething toy and putting it in their own mouth when needed. And if your baby hasn't figured out how to hold onto something for more than a few seconds and prefers to chew their fingers, check out some of the new teething mittens and gloves that combine a little mitten when a silicone teething pad.
Numb the Gums with a Chilled Toy. Chill down your baby's gums with a safe teething toy that can be stored in your refrigerator or freezer to make a nice cold, soothing experience for your child. While there is no scientific evidence that Amber will do anything to help your teething child, there are literally centuries of research showing that chilling down your baby's gums will numb, sooth, and reduce inflammation. Options that you already have around your home include freezing a knotted or flat wet washcloth, pacifiers, or fruits placed inside a mesh or silicone teething pouch (you can also freeze breastmilk and put it in a mesh teething feeder!).
Try a Gum Massage. If your baby will let you, try gently massaging their gums with a clean finger. You can even dip your finger in ice cold water for a little while and then gently rub your baby's gums. A gentle gum massage goes a long way to help sooth teething pain and calm your baby down. The relief might not last as long as with a teether toy, but it works in a pinch when you're desperate or out of the house. If you find that your finger is getting nibbled a bit too much, then try bending your finger at the knuckle and letting your baby gnaw on your knuckle a bit - that might be less painful for you - budding teeth can be sharp! Also note that the massage can be done on the inside and outside of the mouth, gently massaging the gumline from the outside can help quite a bit as well.
We do not suggest rubbing any medications on your baby's gums. Over the counter teething pain remedies are dangerous and should be avoided. If the teething toys and strategies aren't working, then talk to your pediatrician about some options to reduce swelling and pain.
Wishing your baby a swift transition through this painful phase of development!