Amber is a natural analgesic that when orn close the skin, natural healing oils from the fossilised tree resin helps infants stay calm during teething, aiding in the reduction of acidity, red cheeks, swollen gums, nappy rash, fevers and eczema.
Traditionally amber is surrounded in folklore and was prized for its healing properties. Gintaras (Lithuanian for amber) comes from "ginte" (meaning to protect).
This product should be used under direct adult supervision. It is recommended that you remove the beads while your child is sleeping. Each bead is individually knotted so that in the event that the string breaks, which it is designed to do to prevent strangulation, only one bead will come loose. Amber Teething Beads are NOT for chewing.
Each necklace is unique as no two pieces of amber are indentical.
On their website the Ministry of Consumer Affairs states:
What is Amber?
Amber has been worn for centuries as a natural remedy for pain relief and to promote fast healing and boost the immune system. Wearing amber in the form of a necklace is a traditional European remedy for teething babies.
How are they worn?
These necklaces are not designed or intended for babies to chew on, but rather the suggested pain relieving effects are gained through the wearing of the amber beads next to the skin.
What to look out for
Although the Ministry of Consumer Affairs can't state whether the therapeutic claims for these types of teething necklaces are true, parents and carers of teething babies who use these teething necklaces need to consider that:
* Babies should always be supervised when wearing amber necklaces - there is a potential risk for strangulation or a hanging hazard.
* There is a potential for risk of choking hazards if the necklace breaks and beads become loose. Some amber necklaces have knots between individual beads to help lower this risk.
* Amber necklaces should be removed from a baby when the baby is unattended even if this is likely to be for a very short period of time.
* Amber necklaces are made for wearing, NOT for chewing.
Babies should not be left wearing necklaces while sleeping - whether that is during the day or overnight.
In a memo to staff dated 16.10.08 Plunket states:
The safety around the use of amber bead necklaces worn by infants as a natural analgesic to help alleviate teething discomfort has been queried by several Plunket staff.
On consultation with Safekids NZ and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (who consulted with Australian counterparts) we are unaware of any incidents occurring when infants have been wearing the necklaces.
Some companies have promoted their product by stating that "amber teething necklaces are a traditional baby teething remedy. A natural analgesic, Baltic amber has been used for centuries in Europe. Wearing amber close to the skin will help calm a baby without resorting to drugs. Natural anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of baltic amber are perfect to soothe teething babies."
While Plunket staff do not promote the use of these necklaces, we do have a role in supporting parents who chose to use these products, to minimise any potential risk to the infant. The carer needs to be aware of the risks and make an informed choice about whether to use a necklace.
There is a danger of the necklace getting caught and posing a strangulation hazard or a choking risk if the necklace breaks. The infant should not be left unattended for any time when wearing the necklace and the necklace must be removed before the infant is placed to sleep. Safety information should accompany the necklace when it is purchased and this should include information that the necklace is not for chewing on.