The teething phase for a baby is particularly difficult given the transition they undergo internally. It's a time when children get cranky and you try to calm them down with whatever you can find.
In most cases, teething objects do come in handy and help the little ones distract themselves. Several parents opt for teething toys or even a teething necklace, and it's the latter that can turn into a safety hazard if left unattended.
That's something this mum found out about after a really close call.
Sharing her experience on popular social media app TikTok, Kasie, a mum-of-four from the US, shared how her 11-month-old son nearly choked on his amber teething necklace.
Dangers of teething necklaces: Baby nearly choked himself
@kasieschoch Reply to @it_is_bumble_brie64 The story of how my son was strangled by his amber teething necklace. #AmberTeethingNecklace #ChildSafety #InfantSafety ♬ Oke work that imaged the Ghibli-like forest - CRAFT SOUND STUDIO
Explaining the incident, she said, "Back in 2016, when my son Hunter was about two months old, he started teething and I saw on a Facebook page amber teething necklaces and how they could help with teething and everything."
The company assured the mum that it's safe to use the necklace. She simply had to break the necklace to avoid strangling the child, as per the company's instructions.
The company also advised to use the product under direct supervision and never while sleeping. Kasie says she did follow the instructions.
The mum ordered the amber teething necklace, something she would come to regret later.
Explaining further, the mum said in the video, "We had a baby gate into his playroom and we were right next to the baby gate. We were playing on the floor and I was looking at my phone and then I noticed he was on his stomach right next to the baby gate."
The mum added, "He was making weird noises and I thought he was just being silly and when I looked closer I noticed that the necklace was caught on the stopper on the baby gate and he was gasping for air. He was having a hard time breathing."
The teething necklace did not break
Kasie went into panic mode upon discovering her baby at that moment. Both the mum and her husband struggled to free the baby and eventually succeeded. However, unlike the company's claims, they were unable to break the teething necklace with their hands.
"He was starting to turn blue towards the end right before we got him unhooked and we were both so frantic and I really thought that he was going to die."
"If I had not been right next to him, say if I'd gone to the bathroom or went to get a snack or something, I don't think he would still be here today," she said.
Kasie revealed that little Hunter had bruises on his neck that stayed for a couple of weeks. It was a wake-up moment for the mum who didn't think it would happen to her until it did.
That's why she made a video about the incident. Kasie wants to warn other mums about the dangers of using an amber teething necklace.
The now-viral video garnered ample praise online. The video has over 160,000 viewers so far. It attracted over 10,000 likes as well.
What's an amber teething necklace?
This necklace comprises little beads made out of fossilised tree resin. Its makers claim that the amber teething necklaces release succinic acid, which has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, there isn't any scientific data to back this up. In most cases, parents are ignorant about the dangers of these necklaces for babies and casually purchase them.
One study, published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, states, "While amber teething necklaces are genuine Baltic amber, we have found no evidence to suggest that the purported active ingredient succinic acid could be released from the beads into human skin.
"Additionally, we found no evidence to suggest that succinic acid has anti-inflammatory properties."
Netizens thank Kasie for raising awareness
The video managed to garner positive feedback from parents, especially those who had little to no clue about the teething necklace being a choking hazard.
One user wrote, "He is alive? Oh thank God, I watched this fully expecting he had died. Thank you. My son is definitely not getting anything like that."
Another user commented, "I wish unsafe baby products weren't allowed to be sold… I'm so sorry this happened."
"Throws necklace out the front door," said another TikTok user.
However, ome users also shared their own experience of using these teething necklaces and said they had no problems.
Amber teething necklaces are a choking hazard
Health bodies do not recommend using amber teething necklaces or other kinds of teething necklaces globally. There are many dangers of teething necklaces and one is that they are a choking hazard.
The Queensland Government also released a statement in December 2020 which read, "We don't support the use of these products due to the safety risk."
Similarly, the ACCC warned against using them in 2011, while Red Nose Australia warned against placing anything around the neck of a sleeping baby. The US FDA also warned in 2018 about the dangers of teething necklaces, jewellery, bracelets, and similar items around babies.
There's also the risk of the beads breaking and ending up in the baby's mouth, which can also cause the little one to choke.
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This article was first published in theAsianparent.