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Major Hazard

Retailers stopped from selling dangerous amber jewellery as teething aid for babies

The CCPC says the products “pose serious risks to babies and small children, including risks of strangulation and choking”.

IRELAND’S CONSUMER PROTECTION watchdog has stopped several distributors from selling amber jewellery as teething aids, citing serious dangers posed to babies and small children.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is calling on business to cease selling or marketing the protects as teething aids.

Amber bead products in the form of necklaces, bracelets and anklets have been advertised and sold in Ireland and elsewhere as teething aids for infants.

However, the CCPC has said that these products “pose serious risks to babies and small children, including risks of strangulation and choking”.

Grainne Griffin, CCPC Director of Communications, explained why these items are dangerous.

“While teething can be a distressing and often exhausting time for parents and children alike, this dangerous jewellery is not a remedy, it’s a risk,” she said.

“Amber teething jewellery can come apart in a baby’s mouth causing the baby to choke or to swallow the beads. Also, as with any cords around a baby or child’s neck, there is a risk of strangulation.”

Griffin said that the CCPC received reports about the products to its helpline and as a result was able tot step in and get those businesses to stop selling amber beads as teething aids for babies.

She is asking the public to remain vigilant and contact the CCPC if they see these teething beads or other potential hazards being advertised for use with children.

Dr Abigail Collins, HSE National Clinical Lead Child Health Public Health, added that “not only is there a strangulation and choking risk, there is no convincing evidence to support claims that amber teething jewellery provides pain relief”.

“It can be upsetting for parents to see babies and young children in discomfort from teething. Depending on their age and stage, you can use teething rings, sugar-free teething gel or cold water and healthy foods to chew on,” Dr Collins said.

“It’s vital to never put any kind of cord, string or chain around a baby’s neck, and to keep small objects like beads away from babies and small children.”

The CCPC is working with the HSE to provide up-to-date information on amber teething jewellery to businesses.

It is also working with other European product safety authorities to track down companies supplying these products to Ireland.

The watchdog is asking the public to contact the CCPC Consumer Helpline on 01 402 5555 from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, or email if they are aware of a business selling amber jewellery as teething aids.

The CCPC warned:
“Amber teething necklaces, bracelets and anklets pose a potential choking, strangulation or inhalation hazard to any child under three years of age.

“The jewellery normally contains many small amber beads which can come loose from the string and be swallowed or inhaled, which could cause choking.

“Even if the beads do not break off, amber necklaces, bracelets and anklets are small enough to be swallowed whole by a small child or baby. The amber beads used in this type of jewellery can very easily shatter into smaller parts which can also lead to choking.

“You should never put any kind of cord, string or chain jewellery around a baby’s neck.If you are unsure about what products you can use for a teething baby, ask your GP or public health nurse.”

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