You may see babies wearing amber-colored, beaded necklaces. Is this a new infant fashion trend?
These are necklaces said to reduce teething pain and drooling. Are they safe? Do they work?
What do the amber necklaces do?
Teething necklaces are made from Baltic amber, which is claimed to release succinic acid. This acid is an anti-inflammatory that is absorbed through the skin.
Do these necklaces work?
There are no scientific studies that prove or disprove the effectiveness of teething necklaces. Succinic acid has only been scientifically shown to release from amber at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Are there concerns with my child wearing the necklace?
There are dangers connected to wearing the necklaces. In December 2018, the FDA issued a safety warning about the necklaces regarding choking and strangulation.
Also, a child could get a bead in their mouth, particularly if the necklaces breaks, and the bead could enter the child’s airway causing choking.
If a child is wearing it while sleeping, the necklace could wrap too tightly around their neck or get caught on an object in the crib. This could lead to strangulation.
There have been recent reports of child deaths from each of these issues. I do not recommend these necklaces (or any necklace) for that reason. If a parent insists on using the amber necklaces, then I suggest that they do not leave the child unsupervised.
How can I relieve teething pain for my child?
There are certainly other ways to soothe teething symptoms. Some include:
- Chewing on a cold washcloth
- Using a teething toy, like rubber rings. Do not freeze these, as they may be too cold or hard.
- If your baby is eating solid food, you could try cool foods to chew, like a chilled cucumber (cut into bite sized pieces to avoid choking). Other cold foods like applesauce or yogurt may help.
- Over-the-counter remedies, like Children’s Motrin.
- Gently wiping any drool off the skin to prevent skin irritation.
If you have any questions, talk to your pediatrician to help find relief for your baby or address any concerns you may have.
Donna Smith, MD, is a pediatrician at Medical Group of the Carolinas — Pediatrics — Spartanburg —Westside. To make an appointment, call 864-560-9600.