Amber Teething Necklaces
Things to think about before buying an amber teething necklace.
Baby amber teething necklaces are sold as a way to reducing teething pain and symptoms when worn against the skin.
Concerns have been raised by Health Visitors and Trading Standards departments about the possible safety factors of a baby or young child wearing them.
U.K. Trading Standards departments have tested the necklaces and found they are a potential choking and strangulation hazard and deemed inherently unsafe for the market of children aged under 3 years.
Since 2011 RAPEX (the European Union rapid alert system to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers) has issued multiple alerts on baltic amber teething necklaces across Europe and they have been removed from sale because of being a safety concern.
Fashion jewellery does not fall under the same stringent safety checks as toys or childrens clothing. Admittedly amber necklaces are not used as toys but they are often left on a young child 24 hours per day. Toys intended for a childs play under 36 months must not present a choking risk. The test uses the 'smalls part cylinder' - toys or parts of toys that can fit entirely into the cylinder are identified as choking hazards.
Amber teething necklaces are sold to relieve the pain associated with teething. The infant wears the necklace around their neck in contact with their skin to help relieve the pain associated with teething.
Necklaces are made approximately 32cm in length to try and prevent the child being able to put them into their mouth when worn because the amber will crack and break under pressure.
Most necklaces sold are knotted after each bead with sellers stating that if they break this will prevent the beads being a choking risk as only two beads could ever fall. They also state beads are too small to be a risk as they are small enough to be swallowed. They don't discuss the risk of inhalation.
A U.K. Trading Standards office tested a necklace made from Baltic amber and sold via the internet as an infants teething necklace, 32cm in length with a silver plated magnetic clasp. The necklace failed the BS EN71 tension test, resulting in the bead shattering and becoming detached. It also failed the General Product Safety Regulation test due to possible ingestion of the clasp. The product was deemed inherently unsafe for the intended market, children aged under 3 years.
Most concern was seen in the strength of the clasp and size of necklace. The clasp detached and easily fitted along with the necklace into a 'small parts cylinder', thus failing the small parts regulation. This regulation prevents deaths and injury to children under 3 from choking, inhaling or swallowing small objects via the mouth. The test involves placing the object into a specially designed test cylinder that is about the size of the throat of a child under 3 years. If it fits into the cylinder it fails the test.
The tested necklace was withdrawn from sale and the point made that 'many similar products remain on the market so consumers should take great care.
Child Accident Prevention Jersey does not recommend using baltic amber teething necklaces or anklets.