Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

The FDA Is Warning That Children’s Teething Products Are Unsafe

The FDA Is Warning That Children’s Teething Products Are Unsafe

The Food and Drug Administration is warning that some popular teething remedies for babies and toddlers can be harmful. Benzocaine has been found to have deadly adverse effects especially when used in children below the age of two say the officials.

A new warning has been issued by the FDA for parents to stop using products that contain benzocaine for their kids' teething pains.

"If companies do not comply", the FDA said it will "initiate a regulatory action to remove these products from the market". New warnings will be added to products for adults.

And, as always, store all drug products where children can't reach them, the agency said. Government health officials say the chemical, which is sold in gel, spray, ointment, and lozenge-form, can cause a rare blood condition linked to serious breathing problems. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb also noted that benzocaine, which is an anesthetic, can pose a safety risk when used on children.

The FDA urges consumers and health care professionals to report adverse reactions involving benzocaine or other medicines to the FDA's MedWatch program.

On the American Academy of Pediatrics site,, the page on teething babies has a warning that reads, "Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine".

Also make sure the teething ring is not frozen because if the object is too hard it can hurt your child's gums.

If your child has ingested products with benzocaine, look for symptoms of methemoglobinemia.

The FDA has been warning parents about gum-numbing products for years, but made a decision to take this tougher stance because of continuing concerns about the health and safety risks posed by these products. Educate families on the importance of reading the drug facts label to ensure products do not contain benzocaine. Methemoglobinemia can cause red blood cells to stop carrying needed oxygen. They are sold as brands Orajel and Anbesol for adults. These include pale, gray- or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds; shortness of breath; fatigue; headache; lightheadedness; and rapid heart rate.

New Jersey-based manufacturer Church and Dwight Co.

Symptoms of methemoglobinemia can happen within minutes of using benzocaine.

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