Oct 5th, 2016: I have a sad revise for everyone. A little young man has died simply by strangulation from his amber teething necklace.
Make sure you help me spread the word about these awful necklaces!
They’re the latest craze in the crunchy mama circles.
You may have heard of all of them: magical necklaces that are supposed to alleviate teething pain and make it overall a more tolerable experience.
Supermodel Gisele Bündchen posted a photograph to her Instagram showing her son wearing a teething necklace, generating the storm of comments and attention.
Do they work? Let me get that out of the way first: no, they don’t work.
And worse compared to that, they’re dangerous.
Let me get one thing clear: I’m not right here to judge. If you feel that these necklaces really make a difference and you use them safely and supervise at all times, then go right forward.
I get that will moms want to keep everything as natural as possible, and I’m together with you there. I recommend only natural bug sprays and sun blocks , and I’m a huge proponent of making your own baby food and making use of cloth diapers.
Yet I just don’t think that Baltic silpada teething necklaces are a solution. Or even a good idea.
They do not do anything.
Very first things first: there are absolutely no studies that will prove that these necklaces do anything more. They’re not supported by modern science.
The way they’re supposed to work is by the Succinic Acid contained in the amber. When placed against the skin, the acid should be absorbed into the blood stream, offering a natural pain killing effect.
Sounds good, right? Much better than feeding them toxins like Tylenol or other medications.
But does that make any feeling at all?
Here are the facts:
- Baltic amber does contain succinic acid.
- There is no scientific evidence to prove that it has any sort of analgesic effect.
- Ironically, succinic acid is classified as a skin irritant .
- There is no technological evidence that amber can release succinic acid by skin contact.
- There is also no evidence that succinic acid can be transmitted through the skin.
- Even if it could, the concentration of the acid within the small beads of a teething necklace would be ridiculously small.
A child has died because of these necklaces.
I am saddened to tell you that a little boy has passed away because of his ruby teething necklace.
On October 5th, 2016, Deacon Morin, an 18-month-old toddler was fell off at preschool with his silpada teething necklace. During his naptime, he was strangled to loss of life by the teething necklace he has been wearing.
He was rushed to the hospital and put upon life support, but it was already in its final stages.
Please help me distribute the word about how awful these jewelry are!
One more close call.
I came across this news article about a toddler, Ellie. She had been found by her mom, sound asleep, and she’d somehow squeezed her arm up through the necklace around your neck, twisting it into a figure-8 towards her neck.
Ellie was fine, but if the necklace had been positioned slightly different, she could have easily choked to death.
This is no joke.
In 2010, Health Canada, the country’s federal department of public health, issued a caution about these charms, citing the risk of strangulation.
They recommend not using jewelery of any type, including teething jewelry, on a child under 3 years old.
Just recently, in 2015, Ireland warned against the use of amber teething necklaces , again citing the risk of choking and strangulation. It’s hard to find information on this, but judging by the warning, they are being removed from sale completely.
Looking for studies on these necklaces on MEDLINE and PUBMED turned up only one result, a survey consumed in southern France of 48 family members who used these teething charms.
BOTTOM LINE: Putting necklaces upon young children is dangerous. This danger must be diffused by all specialists working with small children in order to stop any kind of publicity or sale of this inadequate product implicated in infant deaths by strangulation.
Unfortunately, many of the families in the research who were informed of the strangulation danger preferred to continue to use them because of their illogical fear of seeing their child in stress. This is the same kind of irrational dread that causes parents to avoid vaccinations, opening them up to diseases that were basically wiped out hundreds of years ago.
But that’s another article another time.
“But the beads are individually tied. ”
I’ve seen a few moms use the argument that since the beads are individually tied, even if the necklace breaks, only one bead can fall off.
Which is generally true.
But even a single bead is a choking hazard. All it takes is an individual small object to cause a child to choke to death. Choking is one of the leading causes of death regarding children under the age of 3.
Why do people believe they work?
Let me just say that I don’t blame people for giving their children amber teething necklaces.
They make you feel like you’re doing something as a parent to help your cranky teething child. You’re not just sitting right now there listening to them cry, but you’ve bought something (that wasn’t precisely cheap) and put it around their own neck.
Not only that, in case you look online for information on these necklaces, you’ll be bombarded simply by claims of the amazing healing and analgesic properties of Baltic ruby, citing its centuries of use.
The ancient people must have been onto something, right?
The thing is, our understanding of the world back then was hilariously inaccurate. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t so long back that people believed the world was fixed.
People used to furthermore believe that the positions of the moon and stars had an effect on the inner workings of the human body. From the late 1500s, European physicians were required by law to calculate the location of the moon before performing surgery.
Amber teething charms also appeal because they’re normal. Amber is organic, so it’s preferable to use over Aspirin or topical teething gels.
Let me be clear: I don’t condone using drugs to treat teething pains, and no healthcare professional would recommend it either.
But I think it’s ridiculous to assert that all man-made chemical medications are dangerous, but anything organic is perfectly fine.
I do find it slightly odd that modern parents will bend over backwards to avoid GMOs and pesticides, consume only all-natural foods and use only organic baby clothing and mattresses, but are perfectly fine with using a necklace that supposedly delivers a continuing stream of natural chemical to their child’s bloodstream.
Probably it’s just me.
Alternatives to amber teething jewelry.
It’s awful viewing your child suffer because of teething. Yet teething necklaces aren’t the solution.
Here are some alternatives that can help your kid deal with this troubling (but important! ) milestone:
- Teething toys can be a great wall socket for the need to chew and gnaw that teething children have. I’ve written a guide on 5 great teething toys that a lot of parents love. They are safe!
- You can also apply your baby’s gums with a (clean) finger; this can help relieve some of the irritation.
- A cold spoon, washcloth or teething ring can help, too. Just don’t make it Freezing, which can be dangerous.
- In case they’re on solids, offering hard foods like carrots or cucumbers can be an outlet for the gnawing, as well. Just be careful and watch out for little pieces that might break off.
- Cold water in a bottle or sippy cup can be a wonderful relief, too.
- Keep a soft cloth nearby to dry the drool. There’s going to become a LOT of drool, and it can quickly cause irritation if you don’t wipe it up continuously.
More reading through on teething necklaces (if I didn’t convince you yet)
- AlphaMom: Amber Teething Necklaces: Helpful or Hype?
- Technology or Not: Amber Teething Necklaces
- Dr . Weil: Are Amber Teething Necklaces Worthwhile?
- Science-Based Medicine: Amber Waves of Woo
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