Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The Food and Drug Administration has warned parents, caregivers and health care professionals to stop giving children jewelry to relieve tooth pain after reports of death and injuries to infants.
Teething jewelry like necklaces, bracelets or anklets can strangle, choke and cause mouth injury and infection to children, the FDA said Thursday.
"We know that teething necklaces and jewelry products have become increasingly popular among parents and caregivers who want to provide relief for children's teething pain and sensory stimulation for children with special needs," Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, said in a news release. "We're concerned about the risks we've observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewelry puts children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death,"
Some teething necklaces contain succinic acid, an anti-inflammatory that helps relieve tooth pain. The FDA says succinic acid can also, allegedly, leak out of the necklace and enter a child's bloodstream.
The alert comes months after the FDA called for parents to stop using over-the-counter teething products that contain benzocaine, which temporarily soothes pain in teething children's gums. The agency said Benzocaine can raise methemoglobin levels in the blood, which can cause death.
According to the FDA, teething necklaces can wrap too tightly around the neck of a child, causing strangulation. Jewelry can also injure a child's mouth or cause an infection if it punctures their gums.
The agency recommends following the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for safe options to help children with teething.
"Consumers should consider following the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations of alternative ways for treating teething pain, such as rubbing inflamed gums with a clean finger or using a teething ring made of firm rubber," Gottlieb said. "Given the breadth of the market for these teething necklaces and jewelry, we're sharing this important safety information directly to consumers in order to help prevent injuries in infants and kids."