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Tips to help you find the best, safest teether for your baby

HOUSTON – The teething process for babies can start at 4 months old. Drooling and fussiness may be an indicator that it's time to give babies a cold teething ring, but some are safer than others:

BPA-FREE

A lot of products claim to be BPA-free. Why does that matter in your baby toys?

“We don't know how much BPA is harmful, but in babies we would rather not have any if we can,” said Dr. Stanley Spinner, Texas Children's Pediatrics chief medical officer and vice president.

Spinner said silicone products are the better choice.

BUY DOMESTIC

Spinner said it’s important to buy domestic because you can only be confident that USA-made products have regulations against harmful chemicals. Therefore, use caution when buying online that you make sure you know where the teething ring comes from.

“Things that are brought in from other countries we don't really have the ability to regulate," said Spinner. "Some of the older products may have lead in some of the painted objects for instance, so we really recommend keeping it, if you can, domestic if possible."

DO NOT FREEZE

“We have found babies have suffered injuries, frostbite and so forth so freezing is not something we are recommending anymore," Spinner said. "You can make it cold in the refrigerator, so a cold washcloth or a cold teething ring but we don't recommend that it be frozen."

WARNING ABOUT TEETHING JEWELRY

The FDA recently weighed in on teething jewelry, saying it should not be used due to strangulation and choking incidents.

“I have seen a lot of babies have some of those necklaces with the various little pearls on them, those can break off and those can certainly be choking hazards," Spinner said. "You really want to be sure it's a good solid piece of plastic if you're going to use something like that rather than the jewelry."

AVOID LIQUID RELIEF 

Spinner also warned against natural, liquid teething products, which are sold in health food stores, marketed for teething. 

“We don't recommend using these products because we don't know what's in them and therefore can't really know how safe they are,” he said.