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FDA warns against using teething jewelry

Watching an infant struggle with the aches and pains of teething can be tough.

But according to a recent warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), parents should avoid giving their infants teething bracelets, necklaces or other jewelry marketed for relieving tooth pain.

The 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.

Eva Love, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said there are better alternatives for relieving infant teething discomfort.

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

In addition to the potentially life-threatening dangers of teething jewelry, Love said these products can also lead to trauma to the mouth or mouth infections.

She urges parents to always check the FDA website before buying anything they are unsure of – and don’t assume that just because something is sold in the store that it is safe for your infant.

Love also said it’s best to avoid using medications or topical gels for teething, which are also not recommended.

There are times when it’s appropriate to use acetaminophen if a child is getting multiple teeth at once, but Love said it’s best to call the child’s pediatrician first.

And if a child is experiencing a high fever, she said it’s important for parents not to 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,” said Love.