Nova Scotia

Teething necklace a choking risk: Health Canada

Health officials in Nova Scotia are warning that a trendy way to soothe teething children is dangerous and poses a choking risk.

Retailers say Baltic Amber Teething Necklace helps soothe teething pain

Health Canada warns the necklace poses a choking and strangulation risk. (CBC)

Health officials in Nova Scotia are warning that a trendy way to soothe teething children is dangerous and poses a choking risk.

The Baltic Amber Teething Necklace is sold around Halifax and retailers claim it stops symptoms associated with teething — such as pain, upset stomach, excessive drooling and fever — within four days.

Health Canada says the necklace is a choking hazard and at least one doctor at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax says there's no evidence it works.

"Some parents may be using these and thinking, 'My baby is getting relief.' But when we do scientific research, we look at things like placebo effect," said Dr. Ross Anderson.

"I'm not sure you can look at your own baby and measure whether something is having placebo effect or not."

He added there haven't been any studies done on these necklaces and he doesn't expect there will be because of the risk a child would choke or be strangled by the beads or necklace.

"We wouldn't be able to get these through ethics because of safety concerns," said Anderson.

"You should never give a child anything that is smaller than what you can fit through the roll of a toilet paper tube."

Retailer says it's safe

Jolyn Swain of Nurtured, a parenting store in Halifax, said the Baltic Amber Teething Necklace is one of the store's best sellers. She sells hundreds every year and claims it can relieve pain.

"When it's worn against the skin, the skin absorbs the succinic acid," she said.

"Amber is a tree resin. The tree resin itself has the highest percentage of succinic acid than any other naturally occurring substance found in the earth, so that resin and the succinic acid together, the body warms to it and that decreases inflammation and adds a lot of comfort."

Retailers say the necklace isn't a strangulation risk because it would break first.

Health Canada has issued advisories and recommends that parents not use the necklaces. It instead recommends using teething rings.