Lifestyle & Human Interest

FDA Warns To Stop Using Teething Necklaces & Bracelets After Death of 18-Month-Old


It may seem completely self-evident to say that having children is hard work, but sometimes it needs repeating. Why? Well, people who don’t have kids can hardly imagine how difficult something like teething can be.

For instance, when little Jenny starts getting her baby teeth, she’ll often inexplicably pop a fever. Then she’ll howl and wail at the least little provocation.

This can happen at any time of the day or night. So not only does the little toddler end up grumpy, but mom and dad often find themselves sleep deprived and in foul moods.

A teething necklace has been a time-honored treatment, and these little nodules of strung wood, plastic or silicone have helped many a child through a difficult day. However, KSAZ has reported that the FDA is now urging parents not to use the popular necklaces.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said, “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. 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.”

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Is that just hyperbole or paranoia brought on by fear of a lawsuit? Not so much.

According to the FDA, an 18-month-old child died due to his amber teething necklace. He had it on while napping, and it somehow strangled him. A 7-month-old choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet in a separate incident.

“The risks of using jewelry for relieving pain include choking, stragulation, injury to the mouth and infection,” the FDA said in a news release.

Did your child use a teething necklace?

These stories sounds quite similar to the ordeal suffered by Fontana, California, mother Danielle Morin in 2016. According to WLS-TV, Morin dropped her year-and-a-half-old son Deacon off at a local daycare, thinking nothing of it.

Yet when she returned to pick him up in the late afternoon, she found paramedics working frantically to revive her darling boy. He’d been wearing an amber teething necklace, and the little piece of jewelry had obstructed his airway.

He’d arrived in the hospital in critical condition and never recovered. Several days later, Morin made the heartbreaking decision to remove Deacon from life support.

The teething necklace certainly wasn’t the only factor in Deacon’s death. KABC reported that police arrested two daycare workers a year later over their involvement in the case.

It turned out that they hadn’t immediately called 911 after the found the little boy unresponsive. Instead, they’d waited while they called the daycare’s owner.

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They were charged with child endangerment. Additionally, the daycare was found to have four times as many children staying in it as they were licensed to have.

Despite that tragedy, the FDA has warned parents off of teething necklaces for reasons beyond the risk of strangulation. The agency says that they could also cause gum injury or infection.

Gottlieb added, “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. 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.”

What do you think? Do you think it’s smart for parents to avoid teething necklaces?

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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