Monday, July 15, 2024

FDA Warns Against Risky Teething Products: Opt for Safe Alternatives

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Teething is a common developmental stage for infants and children, often accompanied by discomfort and pain. Well-meaning parents and caregivers may turn to various products to alleviate a child’s teething pain. However, some of these products can be harmful and pose significant risks.

Parents and caregivers might consider using prescription or nonprescription medicines containing benzocaine or lidocaine, as well as homeopathic tablets and other similar products, to soothe this condition pain. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that these products can be dangerous for children, potentially leading to serious injury or even death.

Benzocaine, a local anesthetic that temporarily numbs the area it is applied to, is found in several nonprescription oral health care products, including brands like Anbesol, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, HurriCaine, Orabase, Orajel, and Topex. Despite its intended use to relieve pain, benzocaine is not recommended for teething pain in children. The use of benzocaine products can cause methemoglobinemia, a serious condition where the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells is significantly reduced, which can be fatal.

FDA Warns Against Lidocaine and Teething Jewelry for Infants

Topical oral viscous lidocaine solution, a prescription drug used to treat certain types of mouth pain, should not be used to treat this condition pain in infants and young children. The application of too much lidocaine or accidental swallowing can lead to severe complications such as heart problems, severe brain injury, seizures, and even death.

Additionally, the FDA has received reports of deaths and serious injuries associated with teething jewelry, including amber this condition necklaces. These reports include instances of strangulation and choking, emphasizing the hazards of such products.

Massaging the gums by gently rubbing or massaging the infant’s gums with a clean finger can provide relief. Additionally, offering a firm rubber teething ring for the child to chew on can be effective, but it is important to ensure that the teething ring is not liquid-filled or frozen, as overly hard objects can injure the child’s gums. Always supervise the child to prevent choking. Infants typically begin teething around 4 to 7 months of age and have all 20 baby teeth by the age of 3 years. Symptoms of teething can include mild irritability, a low-grade fever, drooling, and a strong urge to chew on hard objects.


FDA Advises Against Benzocaine, Lidocaine, and Teething Jewelry for Infants

Despite their availability, topical medications containing benzocaine or lidocaine, as well as certain homeopathic remedies, offer little to no benefit for this condition pain and pose serious risks. These risks far outweigh any potential relief they might provide. Benzocaine can lead to methemoglobinemia, and lidocaine can cause severe health issues, including seizures and death.

Teething jewelry, often marketed as a natural remedy, can also be extremely dangerous. The FDA has documented cases of strangulation and choking related to these products. Therefore, parents and caregivers should avoid using such jewelry and opt for safer alternatives. For parents and caregivers looking for advice on managing teething pain or if there are questions about any medication, the FDA’s Division of Drug Information is a valuable resource.

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Teething is a natural but often uncomfortable part of an infant’s development. While it may be tempting to use readily available products to soothe a child’s discomfort, it is crucial to be aware of the risks associated with certain medications and this condition aids. The safest and most effective methods involve simple, non-medical approaches such as gum massage and the use of appropriate teething rings. By following these recommendations and avoiding potentially harmful products, parents and caregivers can help ensure their child’s safety and comfort during the teething process.


Resource: Food and Drug Administration, June 26, 2024

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