Amber beads….effective or risky for teething pain?
There are many testimonials that amber beads help with teething discomfort…but no real scientific evidence. In my opinion the risk outweighs the potential benefit. What are your thoughts?
There is nothing worse than seeing your child uncomfortable and not being able to soothe him. Often parents complain of sleepless nights and fussy days when their child is teething. Although some children navigate the teething experience with little difficulty, some children seem to be uncomfortable, fussy and have trouble sleeping. That being said, sometimes we parents blame teething for a multitude of issues…some of which, like fevers, really aren’t related to teething at all! But, we always want to blame something (or someone) for a sleepless night with a fussy baby! 🙂
Every parent wants to “do” something when their child seems uncomfortable; we want to simply make it better. So, when something comes along that has testimonials saying that it would prevent teething pain and discomfort, why wouldn’t we try it out??
Over the last few years I have seen many babies and toddlers wearing amber bead necklaces or bracelets. These beads have become quite popular with parents seeking help through the teething experience or in an attempt to prevent teething discomfort. They are advertised as a “natural homeopathic” treatment to prevent teething discomfort. The theory behind the beads is that the succinic acid that is contained in amber beads is released from the warmth of a child’s skin. This is absorbed by the baby resulting in a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory response. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? A very good pediatrician friend of mine who is concerned about the increase in the use of amber beads sent me some information and a very good review of evidence. The problem is the “evidence” really is non-existent. There is no scientific study that shows us amber beads work. Yes, there are many testimonials, but no proof.
So what is the harm of using them if there is no actual proof? Your child’s safety! We talk often about protecting your child from choking and strangulation hazards. Ties have been removed from hoods and all children’s clothing, we talk about the risk of cords on blinds, small parts from toys, child proofing your home as best you can, and then someone tells us that small amber beads worn around the neck will help with teething pain and those are considered an OK option. Doesn’t make much sense. Remember, with medicine, we always look at the benefit of a treatment outweighing the risk, and the evidence to prove that…I don’t see that in this case.
Teething pain can be relieved with parents rubbing those sore little gums with their clean finger, providing cold wash cloths and teethers or frozen fruit in a mesh bag for little ones to chew on, extra TLC and even some acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies 6 months and older) for the occasional teething pain. In my opinion the risk of strangulation, choking, and the simple fact that something touted for the treatment of teething has no proven benefit only potential risk is not worth it. Remember, teething is temporary, and this too shall pass, another parenting milestone with your child! Sleepless nights help us appreciate the nights that we sleep, right??
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.