Doctors Warn Parents About the Dangers Of Amber Necklaces
Not only are amber necklaces a risk, but pediatricians don't believe they work either
Why won’t amber necklaces go away?
That’s the question many of our staff at Cook Children’s wonders about the beaded necklaces promoted as a natural alternative to ease teething pain, including Corwin Warmink, M.D., medical director of the Emergency Department.
"Some parents swear by them, but there's zero proof that amber necklaces help teething in any way," Dr. Warmink. "They are a choking and strangulation risk, the necklaces as a whole and the individual beads also. No child young enough to need a teething device should be wearing jewelry. Choking and suffocation is one of the leading causes of death in children under 4 years of age.”
Kat Davitt, a Child Life specialist at Cook Children's, noticed more and more children at the medical center wearing the necklaces. Then after seeing her niece posted a picture of her child wearing one on Facebook, Davitt researched the necklaces and read about the choking risks. Now, she wants parents to know about them:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that suffocation is the leading cause of death for children under a year old and among the top five causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics says infants shouldn’t wear any jewelry.
Justin Smith, M.D., a pediatrician at Cook Children’s, is also concerned about the choking aspects of amber necklaces.
“It’s interesting. People say they aren’t a strangulation hazard because they break. Ok. But then they say they aren’t a choking hazard because the beads are tied individually,” Dr. Smith wrote in a previous blog about amber necklaces. “I say, you can’t have it both ways. If they break, they have to break somewhere and a bead has to get loose. And if you’ve seen the size of these beads … looks like a choking hazard to me.”
Dr. Smith is also against the necklaces as a way to soothe children’s teething pain. Click to read his blog on why he says parents should save their money and avoid amber necklaces.