FDA asking parents to avoid giving infants amber teething necklaces

Watching an infant struggle with the aches and pains of teething can be tough. And now, one treatment for teething pain is now considered dangerous: amber teething necklaces. 

The necklaces are made of baltic amber, or fossilized tree resin. In theory, when baby wears one his body heat triggers the release of a minute amount of oil that contains succinic acid, which is absorbed into the bloodstream.

According to a recent warning from the FDA, parents should avoid giving their infants teething bracelets, necklaces or other jewelry marketed for relieving tooth pain. Dr. Eva Love of Cleveland Clinic Children's says there are better alternatives for relieving teething discomfort.

"We recommend cold teething rings, or even cold fruits and vegetables, providing they're the right - the appropriate size - for the child, but no frozen products, and to really steer clear of any homeopathic medications," she said.  

The recent FDA warning was issued after the organization received multiple reports of serious injury and even death, due to strangulation and choking incidents as a result of the jewelry.

In addition to the potential life-threating dangers of teething jewelry, Dr. Love says these products can also lead to trauma to the mouth, or mouth infections.

She also says it's best to avoid using medications or topical gels for teething, which are also not recommended.

Dr. Love says there are times when it's appropriate to use acetaminophen, if a child is getting multiple teeth at once, but it's best to call your child's pediatrician first.

And if a child is experiencing a high fever, she says parents shouldn't write it off as 'just teething' - because it could be a sign of an actual illness.

"A little bit of nasal congestion is always associated with teething, perhaps some changes to stools, maybe a little bit looser, but I caution parents that true fever, copious diarrhea, or a lot of nasal congestion, certainly associated with cough, or trouble breathing; would not actually be a part of the teething syndrome picture."

Dr. Love says it's worth always checking the FDA website before buying anything you're unsure of - and don't assume that just because something is sold in the store that it is safe for your baby.