Keep off teething necklaces

Posted: January 8, 2019

Consultant paediatrician warns of dangers

It is becoming increasingly common for babies to wear amber teething necklaces, with parents often relying on them to comfort for their baby.

Amber teething necklaces claim to act as an analgesic when absorbed through a baby's skin, causing a soothing affect.

However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that this is the case and in fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that these necklaces can pose a significant choking or strangulation risk to babies.

The paediatric team at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like to make all parents aware of the dangers surrounding teething necklaces.

These dangers are listed below:

  • Strangulation: Teething necklaces pose an incredibly high risk for strangulation. They are worn round the neck and can become very tight, especially during a baby's nap. Babies should never wear jewellery while sleeping and those wearing teething necklaces should never be left unattended.
  • Faulty break-away features: Teething necklaces are designed to break away easily as a safeguard from strangulation. However, studies have shown that almost 50% of teething necklaces do not break away when forced with considerable pressure.
  • Choking hazard: If a teething necklace breaks, there is a risk of the baby swallowing, inhaling or ingesting a bead. Teething necklaces are made with a number of small beads and, although they are threaded with a knot between each bead to reduce choking hazards, the risk is still present.
  • Length: It is important to buy teething necklaces that are well fitting. You should be able to fit two fingers between the necklace and your child's neck whilst they are wearing it. As a general rule, 11" teething necklaces are appropriate for children up to one year of age, and 13" necklaces are suitable for children aged 1-6 years.

Dr Lucy Grain, Consultant Paediatrician, said: "For some time, I have had many anxieties about babies wearing teething necklaces.

"Sadly, children have died as a result of choking or strangulation from teething necklaces and this makes the dangers all the more present and concerning.

"I would warn very strongly against the use of teething necklaces, and instead encourage parents of young babies to consider other teething options such as rubber teething rings or dummies."

For more information and advice on other teething options, please refer to the NHS website: Tips for helping your teething baby (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/teething-tips/).

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