Amber necklaces worn by infants and toddlers is a form of parenting woo. Some parents believe that amber worn on the skin can prevent colic, fussiness, and other issues in infants and toddlers. Typically, it is worn as a "choker" style necklace around the child, or sometimes as a bracelet or anklet.
While there's nothing wrong with appreciating pretty jewelry, amber has no healing properties, and beaded jewelry poses a choking hazard to young children. At least one child has died as a result.
The purported mechanism is that amber contains succinic acid, which acts as an analgesic, and that the warmth of the skin releases the succinic acid into the skin. However, this is ludicrous. While there is succinic acid in amber, it is trapped inside and will not rub into the skin. Amber is famous for being inert — changing very little over millions of years, which is why one can find perfectly preserved ancient organisms in amber. Although succinic acid is sometimes used as a food additive for flavor modification, it has limited, if any, analgesic properties. If you want to constantly low-dose medicate your child, why not make them a handmade necklace out of paracetamol pills instead?
Besides analgesia, many other unsubstantiated claims exist for succinic acid, including effects on the nervous system, cellular respiration, cold prevention, arthritis, and "cleanser".
Beaded necklaces of any kind present both strangulation and choking hazards. In 2016, a child in Florida died after an amber teething necklace strangled him in his sleep. His mother sued Etsy for misrepresenting the clasp, advertised as undoing itself if pulled too tight.
Children under 5 should not wear beaded necklaces or bracelets.
In December 2018, FDA issued a warning against the use of teething necklaces.
- Placebo… for the parent.
- Amber necklace salespeople get to make a cheap, dishonest living.
- …and that's about all.
- Amber Waves of Woo by John Snyder (April 11, 2014) Science-Based Medicine
- Amber Teething Necklaces: A Caution for Parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Infants wearing teething necklaces
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Amber.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on succinic acid.
- ↑ https://eprints.qut.edu.au/91879/
- ↑ The Many Medical Uses for Succinic Acid. Baltic Wonder. Archived from the original.
- ↑ Boy's strangling death at Fontana daycare sparks investigation, ABC7, 11 Oct 2016
- ↑ Exclusive: Mother Sues Etsy After Child Was Fatally Strangled By Teething Necklace
- ↑ ABC News: E-commerce site Etsy sued by mom whose son was strangled to death by teething necklace
- ↑ Amber Teething Necklaces Pose Choking Hazard by Roni Jacobson (October 11, 2013, 10:14 am) The New York Times.
- ↑ Amber Teething Necklaces: A Caution for Parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- ↑ https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm628900.htm
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