Mom suing Etsy, teething necklace maker over son's 2016 daycare strangulation death

A California mother who spent a year and a half fighting in court on behalf of her son – who was found unresponsive at his daycare and later died – has filed a separate lawsuit against online retailer Etsy and the Lithuanian makers of a teething necklace that the boy was wearing when he was placed down for a nap.

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Danielle Morin, who created the Deacon’s Army Foundation in memory of her 18-month-old son, said she was given the Baltic amber teething necklace from a friend, according to CBS Los Angeles. The boy died in October 2016 after several days on life support.

Deacon Morin died after he was found unresponsive by daycare workers who had put him down for a nap with a teething necklace on.

Deacon Morin died after he was found unresponsive by daycare workers who had put him down for a nap with a teething necklace on. (Danielle Morin)

According to previous reporting, when Deacon was placed down for a nap by workers at Little Impressions Daycare in Fontana, the Baltic amber teething necklace got caught on something and tightened, and the screw-on clasp did not release, strangling the boy to death. The attorney, John Carpenter, told CBS Los Angeles that both Etsy and the company that made the necklace are legally responsible for the boy’s death.

Etsy states that products sold through their website come from independent retailers and that the company does not “make any warranties about their quality, safety, or even their legality.” It also says that by purchasing the product through the website the transaction will “release Etsy from any claims related to items sold through our services.”

But according to CBS Los Angeles, because the item was a gift, Morin did not agree to those terms.

“Deacon’s death was a great tragedy and our hearts are with his mother and family," a spokesman for Etsy said, in an email to Fox News. "While we understand the desire to take action, Etsy is a platform and did not make or directly sell this item. We believe the allegations should be directed at the criminally-negligent daycare providers or, if appropriate, the seller of the necklace. The seller has not had any products on our website since last year and we do not represent the seller in any way.”

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In December 2018, the FDA urged parents and caregivers to stay away from teething products marketed as “jewelry” after it received multiple reports of serious injuries in children including strangulation, choking incidents and death. The products, marketed as necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry that can be worn by either adults or children, may be made out of various materials, but are not considered the same as teething rings.

The FDA’s warning did not go so far as to mention any particular brands or issue a recall for any products, but it did reference 18-month-old who was “strangled to death by his amber teething necklace during a nap.” The agency urged parents to consult the American Academy of Pediatrics for recommendations to relieve teething pain in children, as well as to discuss alternative teething relief options with a doctor. It also urged physicians to discourage the use of teething jewelry when talking to parents.

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Morin has also used her foundation and Facebook to spread awareness about the dangers of seemingly harmless, popular products marketed to children, and has urged parents to carefully read warning labels.