The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging parents and caregivers to stay away from teething products marketed as “jewelry” after receiving multiple reports of serious injuries in children, including strangulation, choking incidents and even death.
According to an alert posted Thursday on the FDA’s website, the products, which are marketed as necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry that can be worn by either the adult or child, may be made out of various materials, but are not the same as teething rings.
The FDA said it received a report of an 18-month-old who was strangled to death by an amber teething necklace during a nap, and another concerning a 7-month-old who choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision.
While the alert did not mention any particular brands, nor go as far to recall any specific products, it urged parents to consult the American Academy of Pediatrics for recommendations to relieve teething pain in children, as well as discuss alternative methods with a doctor.
The agency also urged health care providers to discourage the use of teething jewelry when talking to parents.
While they are marketed to infants, they may also be used for sensory stimulation with children or adults with autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other special needs.
“The FDA is closely monitoring adverse event reports associated with teething jewelry and is committed to protecting public health and assuring the safety of children and others,” the alert said. “The FDA will update this communication if significant new information becomes available.”
Earlier this year, the agency warned against using well-known teething medications and various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine that can cause deadly side effects in children, prompting manufacturers to pull the products from store shelves. The FDA had been warning about the products for a decade citing no evidence that they actually provided relief.