As a mother we will all experience a miserable teething baby at one time or another. Some of us will have babies that are soothed easily and some of us (as was the case with my two girls) will resort to trying numerous remedies to try to calm and soothe our little ones.
It's not easy.
During our teething days I tried everything from Hyland's Teething Tablets (before the recall), teething rings, frozen fruit, to local over-the-counter anesthetics.
Every baby is different and therefore responses vary.
Unfortunately, one teething relief product that is often recommended (be it mom-to-mom or advertised) has just been deemed unsafe for babies.
Topical Gels and Liquids
Have you heard of Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, or Orabase? Have you used any on yourself or on your children? All of these over-the-counter products contain benzocaine, a local anesthetic that help soothe sore gums. Sound familiar?
Well, the FDA warns that the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced.
"In the most severe cases, methemoglobinemia can result in death."
Mary Ghods, R.Ph.
Children under 2 years old are at particular risk for the condition, which as we all know is the age group experiencing teething pains. Lucky for parents, huh?
The FDA recommends that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2 years, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional.
It may be inconvenient to many parents, but here are some other remedies you can do to ease baby's pain instead of using any unsafe remedy:
- Encourage baby to chew on a chilled teething ring
- Buy machine washable teething blankets with rubber edges
- Try giving baby gum massages
- Use benzocaine-free products (the new
- Orajel Naturals line introduced in 2011 is a great option)
I know it can be tempting to continue to use a product that you've paid for and have had success with, despite the FDA warning. I was torn between a screeching baby and a brand new bottle of Hyland's Teething Tablets when they were recalled.
I couldn't bring myself to toss them in the trash right away, but I never gave another to my baby no matter how much pain she was in. Her safety came first.
Some of the symptoms of methemoglobinemia include:
- pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds
- shortness of breath
- rapid heart rate
Note: The FDA has made it clear that these symptoms can occur within minutes to hours after benzocaine use. It can happen after using the drug for the first time, as well as after several uses.
.I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free for the purpose of reviewing the mentioned product and/or doing a giveaway. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.