Amber Beads – The Truth behind the Phenomenon!

February 2, 2018 by WonderBaba Blog

Firstly a little background to explain why a parent may choose to put an amber bracelet, necklace or anklet on their child.  Baltic amber is said to contain various amounts of succinic acid which theoretically will be released in response to your baby’s warm skin and then have an analgesic effect – basically reducing their pain.  At the time of writing this article I couldn’t find any actual evidence of this theory and I imagine a lot more research is needed to see if there is any truth to the claims at all.

I get asked my opinion frequently about the use of amber beads during teething and it would be reckless of me as a healthcare professional not to  forward the official HSE advice.  Please find below an extract from their current guidance.

  • “Amber beads are often sold as so-called baby “teething” aids in the form of jewellery.
  • Never use amber teething jewellery such as necklaces, bracelets and anklets as relief for babies who are teething.
  • Amber teething jewellery products are unsafe for babies, and pose several serious risks:
    • Amber teething necklaces, bracelets and anklets pose a potential choking/inhalation hazard to any child under three years of age.
    • The jewellery normally contains many small amber beads which can come loose from the string and be swallowed or inhaled, which could cause choking.
    • Even if the parts do not break off, amber necklaces, bracelets and anklets are small enough to be swallowed whole by a small child or baby.
    • The amber beads used in this type of jewellery can very easily shatter into smaller parts which can lead to choking.
    • You should never put any kind of cord, string or chain jewellery around a baby’s neck.
  • Suppliers and retailers are warned that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission considers these products inherently unsafe and will take appropriate action to remove these products from sale.
  • If you become aware of a retailer selling these items of jewellery, please contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s Product Safety Unit at 01-4025550 (or visit www.consumerhelp.ie).”

The HSE do have your child’s best interest at heart here and so I also must agree that if you do choose to use amber beads in the form of necklaces, bracelets or anklets then you really have to be able to constantly supervise your child.  It is also advised not to put them down to sleep wearing these products as it really only takes a couple of minutes and a very determined WonderBaba to get them off – even when they are hidden under a sock in a sleep suit in a gro-bag!!  The risk of choking is far greater than any perceived benefit of the beads so even though you are trying to help your baby you are not.

As this is particularly unhelpful advice for those of you who actually have a teething baby on your hands, and who are willing to try almost anything to help them to feel better, let me direct you to my teething blog here which has lots on info on how to help them safely and effectively without putting them at risk in any way shape or form.  We are all just parents trying to do the best for our babies, and I for one feel strongly about removing risks where we can because these little WonderBabas are so incredibly precious to us!

For my full teething blog click here!

cropped-websitefeetlogo.pngI hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page  or my website contact page  or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22925538

http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/child/childsafety/teething-necklace.html

Author: WonderBaba Blog

My name is Sheena Mitchell and I'm a pharmacist with my own business Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6. From working in the pharmacy I've realised that there are a lot of first time and experienced moms who might benefit from hints and tips from a pharmacist who can balance healthcare advice with real hands on experience from my important work as a mother of two! I hope to bring you regular advice and information and answer questions that you have! Being a mother and pharmacist are my two favorite things and I'm delighted to have this way of bringing my two worlds together! All questions and queries are gratefully received but otherwise sit back, relax, and let the solutions come to you!

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