Teething and teething pains have never been an easy ride for any parent. We all know the pain our children go through. That’s why finding the best remedy that can save you time and your baby from experiencing more pain, is ideal but a struggle. That’s why in recent years, many old remedies have come back into trend, such as amber necklaces for babies - you can find more information about what they are here. Amber teething necklaces are a popular topic brought up in discussion on many online forums talking about whether or not they are safe for children.
In this article we will explore the following:
- Succinic Acid
- User-error with amber teething necklaces
- Faulty break away feature
- The 3 most important safety measures
The risks linked to amber teething necklaces, most likely have to do with user-error related mistakes that can lead to strangulation, choking hazards, and other accidents. We can think of it as any other item that babies come in contact with on a daily basis; teething necklaces should not be seen as being any more dangerous.
Found in amber, succinic acid is a naturally occurring component. As stated by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), succinic acid is a natural compound found in numerous animals, plants, and microorganisms. In order to find its harmless properties, it was tested and deemed safe according to the FDA as a food additive. Therefore, wearing an amber teething necklace will not harm your baby’s body even if the succinic acid somehow is ingested.
Although no scientific data has been found on whether succinic acid (aka Amber Acid) actually works, many parents have put these necklaces into action and have seen their remedy-like effects. This succinic acid found in Baltic amber at an 8% concentration, may act as an analgesic when it is absorbed into the body by being released upon contact with heat or body temperature.
With this effect in mind, you can think back on when your baby is teething, their temperature may rise (if it rises to abnormal levels, please seek help from your local practitioner). The rise in temperature may be related to the increase of their body’s stress in reaction to the new teeth coming up through their gums.
This study found, when succinic acid was introduced to mice which had hypothermia (a rise in temperature) as a result of stress, it acted as aspirin would- it acted with its anxiolytic-like effects or soothing effects. So, it would be possible to say that succinic acid could help decrease the aches and pains in our children, right?
As parents, we learn to naturally avoid putting anything around our children that may pose a choking hazard. The possibility of strangulation increases if close supervision is not observed.
That's why, whenever putting any type of necklace on a baby, the length is important. When it is too long or too tight, it can result in a tragic accident. Also, amber teething necklaces from reliable sellers will immediately break away at the clasp, if any pressure is put on them.
The most important safety measures of baby teething necklaces are: never leave your child unsupervised while they are wearing their teething necklace, especially when sleeping.
An almost-tragic incident occurred when Ellie was injured, also during nap time at home. She accidentally put her arm through the necklace and twisted it into a figure eight, due to the incorrect measurements of her necklace and going to sleep with it on.
Accidents are more probable to happen during nap time - a time when children should sleep in a safe environment with assurance that nothing in their surroundings will hurt them in any way. That’s why, necklaces should not be worn when children are left alone to sleep. Parents should always take the appropriate precautions and never leave their children unsupervised while wearing their teething necklace, especially during nap time.
**Included inside the leaflets in all my products, you can find several critical safety measures that should be followed at all times and more information related to your amber teething necklaces**
Sometimes, parents may notice that children feel the most pain at night since it is a time when there are less distractions and all your child’s attention is focused on their teething pain. It is understandable that most parents would like the necklace to help their baby during the most painful times, but leaving your baby to sleep with their necklace should be avoided at all costs.
Others find that wrapping the necklace two times around the baby’s ankle or wrist may be an alternative, but I do not recommend this as it may bring your child to chew on the beads. Please remember that amber teething necklaces are not meant to be chewed on, drooled on, or bitten.
My strongest recommendation is to completely remove the necklace when it is nap time or when you leave your child unsupervised - even for a short amount of time. Let’s better be safe and not sorry.
Faulty break away feature
Amber teething necklaces are specially designed to break away easily, in order to prevent strangulation and stand as a safeguard. When necklaces are applied with 15 pounds of pressure (the standard amount of pressure applied to test children’s jewelry) they must break.
This is to show that if a child puts pressure on the jewelery, or pulls on it, they won’t get tangled or strangulated. Of course, it all comes down to the quality and design of each necklace.
Many people assume, then:
"if the necklace breaks the beads will fall off the thread and roll away in all different directions. It is dangerous and can lead the baby to take the beads and put them in their mouths and ingest or inhale them."
That is the main reason why these necklaces are made in a way that each bead is topped with a knot. So, if the necklace does break, the beads will not fly everywhere. If anything, one bead may fall off where the necklace breaks, but because of their small size (4-7 mm), if swallowed, they pose minimum harm to your child and lessen the choking risk.
Let's look back at the child, Ellie, who got her arm twisted in her necklace during nap time. The necklace was still around her neck and most likely her teething necklace was too long for her.
If you are unsure what size will fit best, I recommend the 12.5 inch necklace that fits most children between about 3 months and 6 years. You can measure your child’s neck with a ribbon or string. Then, measure that ribbon or string with a measuring tape or this online ruler to get the perfect fit.
You should be able to only fit two fingers between your child’s neck and the ribbon or string. It should also not be able to fit too tight that it’s uncomfortable nor should it be too long that it goes over your child’s chin or hangs low enough to disturb the child when they are playing.
3 most important safety measures
- Never leave your child unattended while wearing jewelry.
- Never allow your child to sleep while wearing a necklace around his or her neck.
- Always choose a necklace that is knotted between each bead to avoid scattering beads.
With numerous unfortunate and tragic events causing the death of children, there’s no doubt that we should always make sure to keep our children safe and away from potential hazards. We should carefully assess how much time we can give to supervising our children.
If possible, we should always keep an eye on them so that there’s less chance of accidents happening because of user-error. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) said that more than 700 children involved in tragic drowning accidents, were not all related to boating.
When it comes to offering alternatives to teething necklaces and how they can be replaced, many health services recommend the use of numbing gels or acetaminophen. But, before choosing these substitutes, we must remember that these are things that go inside your baby and are meant to be ingested, we must take precaution on possible allergies, reactions, etc.
The reputation of amber teething necklaces has been affected by nothing related to its naturally released resin, but many people still go for alternatives that hold more potential risks in harming a child’s body. An amber teething necklace is meant to look stylish, while at the same time, provide the baby with its remedy-like healing powers and not to pose any harm to any child.
Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) warns against the use of amber teething necklaces. They mention several reasons similar to what was mentioned before in this blog. But, let’s note one little detail here: the HSE says that instead of teething necklaces parents should opt for numbing gels that have local anesthetics.
HOWEVER, the FDA warned that in these numbing gels, there is an anesthetic, benzocaine, that can cause a rare but threatening condition called methemoglobinemia. This condition causes the oxygen in the bloodstream to decrease immensely and become dangerously low. In this research you can find 2 cases where this occurred. Some symptoms to look out for include fatigue, pale skin and lips, elevated heart rate, headache and confusion.
Another major outlet who does not recommend the use of benzocaine is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They are adamant in their statements but they do recommend using acetaminophen like Tylenol, which is a substance the AAP had previously found to be dangerous, specifically for children. Lastly, acetaminophen is a major leading component of acute liver failure in children.
Let’s always be careful, keep supervision over our children and not let teething pains get the best of us!
Share your experience with us!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, if you have any more questions regarding the safety of amber teething necklaces or simply would like to receive additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at your best convenience.