Fans of natural products (and happy babies) often have high hopes for amber teething necklaces. These necklaces and bracelets are made from amber, a luminous yellow-gold substance that artisans shape into beads. Necklace makers say that when your little one wears the necklace, his or her body heat causes the necklace to release a substance called succinic acid. This acid is rumored to have healing properties that help reduce a baby’s pain and discomfort while teething, including reduced cheek inflammation. While amber teething necklaces are for teething, they are not for a baby to chew on.
While the claims surrounding amber teething necklaces sound good for your little one, the risks typically outweigh the benefits. The greatest and most immediate risk is that your baby could choke on the necklace. If the necklace breaks, a single bead could lead to choking. And although necklace manufacturers caution parents not to allow infants to wear the necklaces when sleeping or playing unattended, a parent or caregiver can easily become distracted and forget to remove the necklace.
In addition to concerns of choking, no proof exists that amber teething necklaces offer any benefits. With so many safe, teething-specific toys on the market, there are better options available to help your child overcome this uncomfortable time period. Some preferred teething treatments include:
- Chilled items, such as pacifiers, teething rings, or washcloths.
- Chewable, textured toys large enough that they would not fit inside a paper towel tube (which is a good guide for whether your child could choke on an item).
- Rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger.
- Amber teething necklace makers claim the product soothes irritated gums through the release of succinic acid.
- No scientific proof shows that amber teething necklaces or succinic acid relieve teething pain — and the necklaces are potential choking hazards for babies.
- Using chilled items — such as a chilled teething ring — or massaging your child’s gums with a clean finger are preferred pain-relieving methods.
- In 2018, the FDA issued a warning against the use of teething necklaces due to the risk of choking, strangulation, and death.