Amber Teething Necklaces Linked to Toddler’s Death

Amber Teething Necklaces Linked to Toddler’s Death December 21, 2018

An 18-month-old died from strangulation after falling asleep wearing an amber teething necklace. After the death was reported to the FDA, the FDA responded with a warning that teething necklaces are dangerous and should not be used. The FDA issued the warning on Thursday and provided alternatives to help with teething related pain.

In a warning letter issued on Thursday, the FDA outlined numerous issues related to the necklaces. The warning letter followed a report that an 18-month-old baby died from strangulation after wearing the necklace during a nap. The FDA said:

“The risks of using jewelry for relieving teething pain include choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth and infection. Choking can happen if the jewelry breaks and a small bead enters the child’s throat or airway.

Strangulation can occur if a necklace is wrapped too tightly around the child’s neck or if the necklace catches an object such as a crib. Other concerns include injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewelry irritates or pierces the child’s gums.

In addition to choking and strangulation concerns, amber teething necklaces contain a substance called succinic acid, which allegedly may be released into an infant’s blood stream in unknown quantities.

Manufacturers of these products often claim succinic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves teething and joint pain. The FDA has not evaluated these claims for safety or effectiveness and recommends parents not use these products.”

The homeopathic community has pushed amber necklaces as an option to relieve pain. The theory used to sell the product is that amber released succinic acid which is a healing property. However, for the amber to release succinic acid, the amber must reach a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The necklaces are trendy in the alternative health and natural parenting world. Despite the anecdotes by parents of claiming the necklaces work, there is no scientific evidence supporting they work.

Additionally, the FDA warned against the use of homeopathic rubs, tablets to relieve teething pain, or over the counter rubbing medications.

Instead of necklaces or rubs, the FDA provided a few suggestions for managing teething pain. One option is to give a teething ring made from hard rubber.

When a child uses a teething ring, parent supervision is necessary to ensure safety from choking. Additionally, the FDA advised never to give a child a frozen teething ring. If the child’s gums have swelling and tenderness, the FDA suggests gently rubbing the gum with a finger to decrease pain.

For the safety of your infant and toddler, please dispose of any teething necklaces you own.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • valleycat1

    I didn’t realize people were putting these necklaces on the tots. I always thought they were for an adult to wear and let the kid gnaw on, meaning the choking hazard is greatly reduced. Teething can be an annoying process to tolerate, but risking your child’s life for maybe a little more sleep is irresponsible at best.

  • Raging Bee

    Amber for teething?! Who writes this stuff?! At the very least, amber is way too expensive to use as a pacifier. Looks like someone’s found another way to fleece new parents with far more money than sense.

    Teething rings make more sense, if they consist of things too big to fit all the way in a baby’s mouth.

  • KB

    I don’t know how you run this blog. With all the horrible stories of babies and kids getting killed for stupid, ignorant and petty reasons, I’d find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. It’s important to share these stories to learn from them, but gosh, you must be a stronger person than I am.

  • persephone

    My usual baby gift includes a no-touch thermometer and a vibrating teether like this:

    I bought one for my older son and I was amazed at how well it worked.

  • persephone

    I’m always amazed at what new parents and parents-to-be will buy into. I’m sure part of the reason is that many people are trying to fit in with their social groups, want to do what’s best for their child, and, frankly, are scared. Having a baby is scary as he!!. Doing everything you can to minimize your fear is understandable, although often not fully thought out.

  • After awhile you get numb and desensitized. This specific story is very important

  • Can’t tell you how many people have showed up on my social media to admit they allow their kids to sleep in these

  • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

    I remember when I was growing up, being told not to where things around my neck while I slept. Why would you leave a put a necklace on a baby, that can fall asleep at any time…

  • Jennny

    Nothing to do with amber, but DD recently had a baby in a big city, where new mums can get isolated and therefore depressed. Her Health Visitor (every mother and baby has one of these for the 1st five years of the child’s life as a mentor always available to them in the Uk), recommended to my DD, a local Baby Massage class, so DD and her friend went along. They’re both doctors and, kneeling on the floor were given mineral oil to use around the babies’ liver region, as that was where these essential minerals were absorbed! They both got fits of uncontrollable giggles at this complete nonsense…..and are trying to come up with a scheme or a class which is actually based on medical knowledge, so they can make their fortunes…and not have to return to doctoring with all its unsocial hours and enormous stress! So I guess the experience did ward off any tendency they might have to get depressed!


  • Knitting Cat Lady

    I looked at my older cousins funny when they made their babies wear amber teething necklaces.

    It was the mid 90ies. And I was 12.

    If a 12 year old can spot the idiocy…

  • Sharon Horton

    Isn’t mineral oil a petroleum product that leaches nutrients from your digestive system if you eat it? I don’t think I’d put that on anyone’s skin, even though it was marketed as “baby oil” for decades, any more than I’d shake a cloud of rock dust, i.e., talcum powder i.e., baby powder anywhere where there are people and other creatures breathing.

    Actually, olive oil & sesame oil are both pretty good for the skin, and corn starch makes a good powder if you need one (just don’t make a cloud where breathing is going on).

  • thatotherjean

    An amber teething necklace? It’s fossil plant resin, containing, in addition to succinic acid, bits of ancient debris from trees, plants, insects, and animals. What mother wants her baby chewing on that? Who thinks this stuff up? It sounds like something Gwyneth Paltrow would be selling to her uninformed followers. Amber is not inexpensive, and necklaces on sleeping babies are not safe. Amber teething necklaces are fit only for re-stringing into bracelets for adults.

  • Sophotroph

    It’s also a gemstone. Not one of the harder ones, but it’s still a freaking rock.

    “Here baby, chew on these rocks. That’ll take care of it.” said NO-ONE SANE EVER.

  • Rebecca Kleitz

    All I know is my middle granddaughter had one of these and she never had a problem with it and very little problems with teething. My daughter swore by it.

  • Melissa Rashid

    They don’t chew on the damn thing. These are very popular. The thinking is the oils in the amber relieve the teething pain add the skin heats it. (Don’t bother arguing , I’m just letting you know how it’s supposed to work). This is the only story of a death I’ve ever heard.

  • thatotherjean

    I don’t want to argue, just be informed. These became popular long, long after my children were grown up. Letting a little child sleep in a necklace of any kind seems dangerous to me. Are these teething necklaces taken away from babies/toddlers after they cut their first tooth, so they can’t chew on them and break off pieces? Seems a bit strange.

  • they don’t work.

  • Termagant

    Amber is a resin, not a gemstone, but either way it is ridiculous for people to 1) let a baby sleep with anything around its neck, and 2) believe that gnawing on pieces of fossilized tree sap is going to alleviate teething pain.