In recent years I’ve seen more and more babies wearing amber teething necklaces. You probably have too, both in the streets, in your circle of family and friends, and around the million dollar necks of celebrity offspring.
If you don’t know, these necklaces are made from Baltic Amber and are supposed to relieve pain and inflammation from teething. I’ve heard many people say they work, and many more who say they may as well try them even if they’re aren’t sure if they work, but here’s the rub: there’s not one single shred of evidence worldwide that amber necklaces have any affect on the body whatsoever – except to self-esteem, perhaps. I feel great when I wear some beautiful amber jewellery my dad gave me, but only because I look so lovely in it 😉
There’s two main arguments why I don’t think the teething necklaces should be used.
I write about both here, in an article about the dangers of choking or strangulation from a necklace made with beads that have absolutely no proven health benefits. The beads can break off easily and become a choking hazard and you should never wrap anything about a baby’s neck as they risk strangling themselves. Some suggest wearing the necklace around the ankle to avoid strangulation but then the risk of choking on dislodged beads still exists.
But the main reason I don’t think an amber necklace should be worn by babies to relieve teething pain is because they’re a hoax.
Though the idea of amber assisting with pain exists in some ancient cultures, it is no more real than the ancient practise of wearing an amulet bearing the symbol of a hedgehog to protect against baldness. Participating in and encouraging pseudo-science like this may seem harmless on the surface, but it detracts from the real causes of and cures for teething and entrenches a systemic mistrust of actual science in favour of magic – and this is when the unscrupulous and exploitative will benefit and profit from parents just wanting the best for their children.
The bottom line is that amber teething necklaces are neither effective or safe.
If you don’t want to use proven pain medication here are just a few simple natural remedies you can try if your child seems bothered by teething:
- Giving your child a frozen wet washcloth or frozen banana to chew on.
- Giving your child teethers such as Sophie the giraffe or one of the many many teething toys available.
- Rubbing your baby’s gums with your finger.
Join the discussion below, what do you think about amber teething necklaces?