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Amber teething necklaces: what's all the hype about?

July 21, 2014

There’s no question about it: teething is a hard time in the life of a little one. Teething is painful and frustrating for both parents and children. And as we watch our children suffer, we parents feel the responsibility to ease their suffering any way we can. Could amber teething necklaces be the answer?

What are amber teething necklaces?

Baltic amber teething necklaces are marketed as a ‘natural’ healing remedy for infants as young as 3 months old. Retailers claim that when the necklaces are worn, the amber beads are heated by the child’s body temperature prompting the release of healing oils that penetrate the skin. They claim that these oils then relieve the pain and discomfort associated with teething.

Should I try them for my child?

There are two very basic problems with amber teething necklaces:
  1. They don’t work
  2. They aren’t safe
It’s as simple as that. If you aren’t convinced, I would challenge you to stop and think for a moment about the plausibility of a gemstone emitting invisible oils that seep into one’s skin and target tooth pain. It’s a magical, mystical idea that sounds nice, but just isn’t reality.

What is a reality, though, is the possibility that children can choke or suffocate when wearing necklaces. Retailers claim that children can’t be harmed by these necklaces because the string is knotted between each bead; in the event the necklace is broken, only one bead can fall off, keeping the child safe.

Problem is, there is absolutely no evidence that this is true. Even one bead can become a choking hazard, and no studies have been done to show any level of safety for children. Furthermore, beyond the risk of choking, anything worn around the neck of a young child presents the risk of strangulation and suffocation.

What should I do for my teething toddler?

It’s an inconvenient truth, but there is no magic bullet for teething pain. The best remedies are likely the ones you’ve already heard: rubber teething rings, frozen washcloths for your child to chew, lightly rubbing their gums with your finger. For intense pain, some children may benefit from a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Perhaps the most important thing, though, is a little encouragement for Mom and Dad.  Remember that teething, although uncomfortable for our kids and for us, is a natural process; it isn’t an illness. And, every child gets through it. It’s a challenging time, but it’s not worth putting your baby’s safety in jeopardy.