Natural Pain Relief Or Hocus Pocus?

You may have noticed babies wearing teething necklaces made of amber. What are they all about? Are they safe? Do they work? We answer these questions and more about these baby accessories that are becoming quite trendy, and the claims they soothe teething pain in a natural way.

Amber necklaces, also known as teething necklaces, are appearing on the necks of babies of all ages, from newborn on up. Claiming to soothe pain caused by teething, parents trying these before resorting to traditional painkillers, such as a topical numbing agent, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

How they work

These necklaces are not used in a manner you may expect. Instead of the baby chewing on them, as they would a teething toy, the necklace is worn against the skin, short enough to not be able to reach over the baby's chin. The warmth of the baby's body is claimed to release succinic acid from the amber, which is then absorbed by your baby for an analgesic effect.

The risks

Generally, parents are advised to not place anything around their infant's neck due to strangulation risks. Charlene, mother of two, has this concern. "I wouldn't put anything around my kids' necks, ankles or wrists, especially while they're sleeping," she shared.

Also, you have to consider the danger if the necklace breaks and beads fall off. Many brands will knot the thread in between each bead to minimize the potential of beads all over the floor, but a broken necklace, even with all beads intact, is still a choking hazard for a small child.

Parents can keep their baby safer with constant supervision and taking the necklace off while their little one is sleeping -- many will wrap it around an ankle, under a sleeper.

The skeptics

There have been no scientific studies on the claims the necklaces actually relieve pain. Amber, which is fossilized tree resin and which has been around for millions of years, is a very hard substance, and it can be hard to imagine it would give up its precious commodities when against something as mild as a baby's skin.

"I think they are pretty, but that's it," said Angela, mom of one. "The melting point of succinic acid is 365 degrees F. If your kid is getting hot enough to release the good stuff, you need a firefighter, not a necklace!"

The believers

Many parents, however, use the necklaces and swear by them. "I never noticed a difference until Bubba's broke," said Amy from Nebraska. "He was super cranky with teeth. Guess what? He was calm within an hour of putting it on." Aubrey from Missouri had similar sentiments. "We love our necklace," she explained. "It was amazing the difference in Michael when he got his molars, and we put the necklace on."

Rebecca from Oregon became a believer after trying it herself. "I was skeptical at first because initially, I thought of amber more like a rock rather than an oil or sap, so I didn't really believe that you could absorb any of its properties through your skin," she told us. "However, I started wearing one, and instantly started sleeping better."

No matter how you feel, you can't deny these necklaces are super cute. If you choose to use amber with your little one, be sure to check the necklace for weakness, watch them carefully and retire it when your little one can take the necklace off or tries to eat it.

More on baby teeth

How to soothe teething pain
Breastfeeding and teething and biting
Are baby teeth important?

Amber photo credit:


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Comments on "What are amber teething necklaces all about?"

Shannon Reed February 27, 2013 | 8:41 PM

My little one always wore an amber baby teething necklace and it always worked like a charm!

Shannon Reed February 27, 2013 | 5:52 PM

We, too, have used an amber necklace for teething for both of our little ones. The necklaces work very well!

Cheryl August 08, 2012 | 5:40 AM

I also would like to suggest the Baltic Amber Jewelry. The poeple over at http://www.bouncybabyboutique/ have the cheapest prices online for genuine amber that I have been able to find and I bought my son a anklet and it helped him alot. They also have some useful info about how the amber works and how to care for it. With the prices they have over at Bouncy Baby Boutique theres no reason to not give it a shot for you.

Tree July 10, 2012 | 12:12 PM

When I saw a brief mention of amber necklaces for teething I was intrigued but I thought it meant the child could chew on the amber to soothe their gums. Simply wearing it around their necks seems ineffectual, but who knows? I've read other accounts of the healing properties of amber.

ozsavers July 04, 2012 | 12:29 AM

All tools, whether for adults or kids have pros and cons. For babies, regardless of what tools you give or put on them, constant supervision is necessary. This applies to teething necklaces too.

kasis April 06, 2012 | 3:43 PM

i can recommend these. our daughter was an absolute nightmare with her teeth until we tried this. she has been wearing it since she was 8 months old and we haven't looked back since. i never take hers off, she sleeps with it on too. i have heard from a few people that take their lo's necklaces off at night and they all say that they still get sleepless nights due to teething. i think that they should be worn 24hrs a day. i feel quite happy that they are not a choking hazard. the necklace has a low breaking strain so if it had to get caught on something(an unlikely occurence) then it would snap. if it were to snap for any reason, each bead has been double knotted on, so that they wouldn't all fall off. i got mine off an Latvian Amber Store. it was $14.50, so not expensive at all.

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