Parker Waichman LLP Echoes Warning Issued by FDA Concerning Dangers of Medicinal Pain Relief for Teething Children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reiterated its warning concerning the danger in which parents could place their children when using over-the-counter medicinal teething remedies. The FDA also cautions parents not to use frozen teething rings. Despite being used for decades, the FDA considers frozen teething rings or other teething items, referred to by the FDA collectively as teething jewelry, to be hazardous to children. The FDA suggests to parents that they should use rubber teething rings or rub a clean finger along the child’s gums instead. The FDA warns parents who are well-intended and solely want to relieve the pain from which their child suffers that failing to heed the agency’s warnings may cause serious injury or death.
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The FDA Warning Details
The FDA warns about the possible injuries a teething child or an older child who requires the use of teething jewelry or medicines for relief because of the potential for serious injury or death to occur. The FDA announced that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using alternative measures instead of pouring numbing medicine on the baby’s gums or relying on a frozen object to provide relief. Parents of older children who need some physical stimulation to relieve stress or other symptoms should talk with their child’s health care team to derive a solution.
Teething jewelry presents a significant risk to teething infants and toddlers. Teething jewelry is made of various substances and is worn around the neck like a necklace. The FDA called attention to the risks using teething jewelry present such as choking, strangulation, injuries to the mouth, and infection. Teething jewelry manufacturers are now on notice that their products can cause a serious, life-threatening problem if not corrected.
Gels and creams like Orajel, Anbesol, Chloroseptic, and other over-the-counter medicines containing benzocaine are usually safe for adults to use. Using them on children, despite labels that seemingly approve of the practice, is not safe. Benzocaine-based products can cause a medical complication called Methemoglobinemia, which can cause serious health complications for children, the elderly, and some people who suffer from asthma or other breathing disorders. Methemoglobinemia significantly reduces the amount of oxygen carried by red blood cells throughout the body. The can cause serious breathing problems and even death in some instances.
The solution, according to the FDA and the AAP, is to rub a clean finger along the child’s gums or to use a hard rubber teething ring to help ease your child’s teething discomfort.
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