Irritability, excessive drooling, chewing, rosy cheeks, diaper rash, restlessness, fever. The effects of teething are miserable for a baby – as well as mom and dad.
There are many tried and true ways to relieve symptoms including frozen toys, teething rings and washcloths. A new trend that’s getting a lot of buzz lately is the use of amber “teething” necklaces.
This old fashion idea of healing seems to be having a resurgence in modern day parenting. Amber is not a stone, but a natural occurring resin that has been fossilized. It has been used for centuries for healing in the Baltic region of Europe. The healing properties in this necklace are not from chewing on it, but from the heat of the baby’s skin warming the amber and releasing succinic acid.
According to amberteethingnecklace.org, succinic acid is an all-natural anti-inflammatory with pain relieving properties. Succinic acid is also said to be a powerful antioxidant that helps fight toxic free radicals, reduce stress, help improve the immune system, and reduce inflammation in the ears, throat and stomach. Supporters also claim that it has a soothing effect and can stimulate the thyroid glands to help reduce drooling.
As with most things popular, there are all kinds of conflicting reports on using amber for teething. In fact, Googling “are amber teething necklaces safe?” will give you more than 2.5 million articles to choose from.
In this article, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog explains that she is not in favor of this approach to easing teething pains as it’s not supported by modern medicine. She also adds that putting necklaces on an infant presents a potential risk of choking. What to Expect When You’re Expecting author Heidi Murkoff has a very strong opposition to the necklaces stating “no, they don’t work and no, they’re not safe!”
Last year, UK Trading Standards recommended a voluntary recall to several sellers as a preventative measure while they conducted further research on the safety of the necklaces. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued a consumer protection notice about the necklaces claiming “that they could break into small parts and present a choking hazard to children under three years of age.”
More recently, necklaces have been produced to break if pulled too tight to prevent strangulation. The beads are also individually knotted so they don’t break apart from the necklace.
So are they safe? Honestly, that’s up to you to decide. The bottom line is, before introducing any new teething treatments, check with your child’s pediatrician.