Childrearing

Science Mom: Amber Teething Necklaces Are Bullsh*t, Deal With It

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science momAmber teething necklaces are all the rage in crunchy parenting circles, which is appropriate, because seeing them on a child actually sends me into a rage. The short answer to “are teething necklaces effective?” is “no”; the long answer is “hell no”. In case that compelling argument doesn’t convince you, I’ve assembled an FAQ about the function (or lack thereof) for these necklaces. Feel free to share the science with the crunchy friends and family members in your life.

Q: But how do you know amber teething necklaces don’t work?

A: Well, first of all, a pretty large percentage of the sales pitches for the things that I’ve seen make appeals to ‘organic, natural energy’ or ‘electromagnetic activity’. Any purported remedy that can’t even explain how it actually works beyond ‘energy’ is pretty shady. Every substance in the universe contains stored energy – the stuff is pretty much the definition of ‘natural’ – but I wouldn’t recommend tying a chunk of sodium around your kid’s neck, either.

Q: I read that the amber contains succinic acid, which gets absorbed into the baby’s skin. Couldn’t that be the way it works?

A: First of all, find me a study that shows succinic acid has any painkilling ability. I’ll wait. If it would be easier for you to conduct your own peer-reviewed study and get it published in a reputable scientific journal, that’s fine too. I can be patient.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that succinic acid is a painkiller (which it isn’t). Baltic amber, the sort used to make these much-vaunted necklaces, is somewhere from 3-8% succinic acid, so assuming a necklace that weighs a generous 2 ounces, about 0.16 ounces, or from 1.5 to 4 grams, would actually be succinic acid. 4 grams might sound like quite a lot, until you realize that most of the necklace’s mass is on the inside of each bead. Only a tiny fraction will be close to the surface, and since the key property of solids like amber is that their molecules are stuck pretty much in place (which is why your skin and your spleen remain happily un-swapped), most of that succinic acid is never going to get anywhere near baby’s skin.

Besides, the succinic acid being tied up in solid form means that most of it isn’t accessible to your teething baby anyway. Do you what the melting point of succinic acid is? 363°F. If your kid has that high of a fever, your probably have bigger things to worry about than his achy gums.

And if you really think that your baby is somehow magically absorbing every milligram of that super-powered succinic acid, I urge you to get your hands on a lab balance from a high school science classroom. Most of them are sensitive to at least tenths of a gram, and often even more than that, so they should certainly be able to detect the change when your baby’s skin magically saps four grams of succinic acid out of the center of his necklace’s beads.

I’ll also point out that a full bottle of infant Tylenol contains about 2 grams of acetaminophen, all of which is guaranteed to actually get into your child’s bloodstream when you give him a dose.

P.S. There’s also a lot of succinic acid in beer, in actual dissolved form, so maybe if your baby is suffering a lot, try pouring him a brewski!*

*No. Do not do this. This is a joke, which I feel the need to explain before I see an Instagram wave of hipsters carting around their babies with sippy cups full of PBR.

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204 Comments

  1. Ellefont

    November 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I always thought these were just supposed to be pretty. But we used those silicone bead necklaces because they can go through the dishwasher. The babies did seem to enjoy gnawing on those.

  2. Jen TheTit Whisperer

    November 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

    This, makes me really really really want to be your friend: “That’s not a question. Also, the plural of ‘anecdote’ is ‘cool stories, bro’; not ‘scientific data’.”

    • MomOf1+2

      November 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

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    • lea

      November 5, 2014 at 1:58 am

      So much this.

      And this very same quote is when I thought “shit, I might actually be in love with Science Mom”.

    • Jen TheTit Whisperer

      November 5, 2014 at 9:14 am

      She is pretty much the tits.

  3. Ursi

    November 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Thank you for this.

    This ranks right along with people who wear magnets for whatever imaginary health reason. Nice bracelet, Magneto, it literally does NOTHING.

    • Natasha B

      November 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Oh no. My dad tried to give me a magnet bracelet :/

    • ChickenKira

      November 5, 2014 at 5:05 am

      Once I considered buying a magnetic bracelet so I could walk along the line of refrigerators at the electronics shop and see how much strength it took to drag my arm from one fridge to the other.

      I don’t know why this occurred to me as a thing to do, but the thought did pop into my head… clearly not strongly enough for me to part with money, but strongly enough for me to remember thinking it.

  4. NIGHTHAVEN

    November 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

    My ex friend spent $25-45 each for her “princess baby” and then more for her sons ages 7 & 8 because they wanted one too…. lets be real. they are expensive baby jewellery nothing more nothing less…. did she think it helped Nope not one bit but it didn’t stop her from buying into the fad as each of her kids have one in EVERY color.
    I am one of those people that sit on the fence between homeopathic and westren medicines. I use both. Do I think some things work Yes They work for me. and that is all that matters placebo effect or not. so to each there own but seriously do reasearch and admit if you have bought into a fad or if you JUST like it.

  5. CMJ

    November 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I have never been so uncomfortable as when I see pics of babies in cribs with those things on….I was always taught babies shouldn’t sleep with anything around their necks….but I guess I am just not organic enough to understand.

    • NIGHTHAVEN

      November 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

      SO TRUE OMG no blankets no toys no nothing but a necklace that can strangle your baby is PERFECT for nap time teething issues….

    • Spongeworthy

      November 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

      I HATE seeing babies wearing these…it makes me so nervous (and I am generally not a Nervous Nellie). Especially when they are sleeping!

    • Valerie

      November 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      The sight of those necklaces has always made me a little ragey and this post validates me. Like, “I’m so natural- I wouldn’t DARE taint my baby with TYLENOL!”

      And the choking thing is annoying too.

    • Sara

      November 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      See, I thought the moms wore them and then the baby could chew in it from there. My sister wants one and I think it’s weird.

    • Drstephaniedvm

      November 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Me too! I totally thought these were jewelry moms wore for the teething monsters to gnaw on.

    • Jennie Blair

      November 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

      They do make those, but they aren’t the same thing, it’s like a regular freezer chew toy that looks like a pendant

    • Guest

      November 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      So these are quite popular in Germany as well… But the packages specifically say not to leave it on while the baby is sleeping, so whether it works or not aside, if it’s left on at nap- or bedtime, I’d say you’re doing it wrong.

    • ChickenKira

      November 5, 2014 at 5:01 am

      We have maternal health nurses to do well checks in lieu of paediatricians where I am, and they also run new mothers groups for first time mothers. I was pretty ‘meh’ about the nurse I was allocated to, but I had a different nurse for new mums group. There were two things she said that made me fall in love with her and convinced me to change to her:
      1. She constantly sings the praises of public libraries.
      2. She told us pretty much this blog post, in addition a story about one of the babies assigned to her who did get strangled by it while sleeping, it caught to the back of his sleep suit (fortunately the child was discovered early enough and was revived in hospital) and then told us that if any of us showed up to well checks with our kids wearing one of them she will repeat this speech over and over until we agree to never use them again just to get her to shut up.

  6. Harriet Meadow

    November 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I love you, Aimee. That is all. 🙂

  7. Looby

    November 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Science mum is my favourite

    http://i.giphy.com/tIvtyfzz9d280.gif

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      November 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Tom Hiddleston blowing me kisses is also my favorite. Just sayin’….

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      November 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

  8. BrandiG

    November 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Oh, I thought they were supposed to actually chew on them to make their gums feel better. Which makes a little more sense, except choking (or swallowing small beads) = bad.

  9. chill

    November 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Wow, I’m so glad we missed this fad. How bizarre to think that having my baby chew on some beads is going to help with teething pain. Cooled gel rings worked great for us and I didn’t have to worry about choking or cracking her budding teeth on something hard.

    • Marie

      November 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Actually, they don’t chew on them at all. Just wearing the necklace is supposed to take away the pain. You wouldn’t imagine how many seemingly intelligent parents I know have bought into this crap.

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Wait, what?

    • Jen TheTit Whisperer

      November 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Right!?

    • chill

      November 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Oh okay, thanks! Either way, still seems bizarre.

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Does it draw out the toxins that live inside teeth that are the real reason that babies have tooth pain? You know, the secret reason your pediatrician won’t tell you about because they’re in on the conspiracy?

      <____>

      It’s okay, you can tell me.

    • coffeeandshoes

      November 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      They are all part of a huge conglomerate called BIG DENTA.

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Crap, did I miss another conspiracy day in medical school? Son of a b***h!

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Oh I just love the visual side-eye!

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

      They aren’t supposed to chew on them… it’s just a necklace they wear and it works by the magic of touching baby’s neck.
      And also setting them up to strangle themselves.

      The only teething necklace I would be okay with is the one mom wears that is meant for baby to actually chew on, basically a pretty chew toy on a necklace for mom… but that functions just like any other teething toy.

    • Lilly

      November 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

      I like these — got one as a gift and it was nice to have something for baby to grab. I didn’t wear it much but usually had it in my purse for meltdown time.

      http://www.chewbeads.com/

    • LA Face, Oakland Booty (and

      November 4, 2014 at 11:50 am

      If I wore these my baby would strangle me in the process of playing with them. He’s a brute.

    • Lilly

      November 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

      they do have safety clasps but yeah depends on the kid — I just found it useful during nursing as there was a period my son would get easily distracted and that usually meant bit or stretched nipples — chocking seems like at better option?

    • LA Face, Oakland Booty (and

      November 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Haha! Mine is easily distracted too so he usually resorts to rubbing my skin, which becomes increasingly rougher until he is pinching or scratching me. Yay?

    • Boots

      November 5, 2014 at 2:53 am

      God I hate the skin rubbing /stroking. Especially when it’s followed by pinching. I feed the little brute and this is how I get repaid??

    • Foleygirl24

      November 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Until I read this article, I thought that is what the amber necklaces were- the ones that mom wears so the kid doesn’t wreck her real jewelry. I couldn’t imagine ever putting something around my baby’s neck when everything everywhere tells you not to do exactly this!

    • js argh

      November 4, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      I have two of those and still wear them, because they’re big and fun and also safe to give her as an emergency toy when I forget to bring something for her…they have the breakaway latch.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Why was this not a thing 9 years ago?

      (was it a thing 9 years ago?)

    • Allyson_et_al

      November 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Same here. Those frozen blue gel rattle things, plus the occasional frozen washcloth. Also Tylenol or ibuprofen if they seemed especially fussy.

  10. Allthingsblue

    November 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Anecdotal evidence is not evidence. Also causation vs. correlation is a thing.

  11. Guinevere

    November 4, 2014 at 11:21 am

    My baby likes to grab other babies’ necklaces and strangle them. I tell her “no no” before they actually get strangled. But this is why my baby doesn’t have one.

  12. MomOf1+2

    November 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

    ” Do you what the melting point of succinic acid is? 363°F. If your kid
    has that high of a fever, your probably have bigger things to worry
    about than his achy gums.”

    I literally laughed out loud at work!

  13. MomOf1+2

    November 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I’d rather give my kids ibuprofen than risk them choking or strangling themselves with some stupid necklace that DOESN’T WORK!

    • Spongeworthy

      November 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

      It’s interesting when I hear parents (ahem my SIL) say that they would NEVER give their kid Advil because they don’t know what’s in it, but they’ll give them homeopathic stuff they buy at a GNC or something. My husband works for a biotech company, in the lab, and the process they go through to make these drugs is so stringent! They have to sign off on every step, follow strict guidelines, and have the final product checked and re-checked. While a lot of “supplements” and the like have no FDA oversight or anything. People would rather give their kids stuff in a bottle that might not even be what it claims to be, rather than give them a “drug”. I just don’t get it. I don’t give my kid Advil just for the hell of it, but if he has a fever or something I wouldnt hesitate.

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      What do they mean they ‘don’t know what’s in it?’ there is ibuprofen in it… and some sugar so it tastes good.
      This fear of “chemicals” is so strange to me, considering everything is a chemical. It’s like some of the make your own cleaner/ detergent with these simple ingredients! Usually involving vinegar, which has another name- acetic acid + some water, which is the chemical you can find listed as part of various cleaning agents.

      Not that kids should just be randomly chugging ibuprofen, but it’s not some poison and unregulated ‘herbs’ are safe. Belladona is found in nature, but will kill you… as will arsenic and cyanide etc. Natural definitely doesn’t mean safe.

    • Spongeworthy

      November 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Completely agree re: fear of chemicals and insisting things be “natural”. A lot of these “natural” supplements out there have way less regulation than actual drugs on the market. All the woo out there right now about “natural medicine” and it’s superiority just irritates me.

    • Foleygirl24

      November 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Also, a lot of “natural supplements” can cause interactions with medications that you may be on, some of them really bad. And people on supplements often don’t tell their doctor or pharmacist about them because they are “natural” and not drugs.

    • Spongeworthy

      November 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      That’s another really good point.

    • dragonzflame

      November 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Yeah, even grapefruit plays havoc with some drugs, especially the contraceptive pill. Though I think that’s pretty well known – my pills 10 years ago had a note to avoid grapefruit. No problem, those things were sent by the devil.

    • Boots

      November 5, 2014 at 2:48 am

      The bane of my life (as a naturopath) is that people assume natural things can’t kill them. They can. They so totally can. In horrible, horrible ways too…

    • Guinevere

      November 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      there was belladonna in our natural teething tablets. My pediatrician advised against using them, but we’d already gone through a whole bottle by the time I had a well baby check up to ask her. Hyland’s Baby. Anyhow. I only used them because my SIL insisted.

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      holy crap I didn’t realize it was still legal to use belladonna for medicinal purpose

    • Guinevere

      November 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      doc was like, “I wouldn’t use these,” but I bought them at Walgreen’s within the last year. Before I knew better. And only because I was being mom-shamed for not trying ‘everything’.

    • Boots

      November 5, 2014 at 2:47 am

      My paediatrician drew up a script for a belladonna based colic syrup, but that had to be made to order in the hospital compounding pharmacy. I’m a naturopath – would I compound that myself for my baby? Hell no.

    • MomOf1+2

      November 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      We use them too. I really don’t think they work since my kids stop crying pretty much the second I give them one which would be before there is any chance for them to be ingested but whatever. My kids stop screaming so I call it a win. I did question using them since they were recalled in 2010 but my understanding is they’ve been reformulated and worked with the FDA to improve their manufacturing processes. And since we only give 1 every 6 hours (max dose is 2-3 every 6 hours, I think) and only when actually needed I don’t worry about it. Twins screaming from teething pain is more than I can take so if a tablet makes the screaming stop, I give the tablet.

    • Boots

      November 5, 2014 at 2:45 am

      The hylands is homoeopathic – there’s not even a single molecule of the original belladonna in there.

    • vixenmonkey

      November 6, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Homeopathy is just fancy water. Anything diluted that much cannot have any effect.

  14. Mimi

    November 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I have these homeopathic drops I give my baby for teething pain. Do I think they actually work? Nope. But the act of giving her the drops, which she loves, definitively calms her down and is a distraction. So I’ll keep using them even if I know it’s absolutely the placebo effect.
    (Note: I will give real medicine if she’s in a lot of pain)

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

      It’s one thing to use products like that, which are actually tested by the FDA and proven to be ‘safe’ and know that they might not do anything to help…
      For the most part,you are wasting money, but unlike some of these other products, you aren’t putting your child in easily avoidable danger. Placebo affect does exist, but it’s using safe things as the ‘placebo’ and not something risky.

    • Mimi

      November 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Oh they’re FDA approved and I even talked to the pharmacist and she confirmed I could them to her with actual medicine. And she loves those things and if they calm her down, it’s not money wasted to me!!!

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Exactly, you are using something safe that has been tested… the affect of course varies by person (though we could say that about a lot of OTC medications).
      The risk of using the homeopathic teething/colic etc. products is much lower than the risk of these dumb teething necklaces.

    • MomOf1+2

      November 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

      We use teething tablets sometimes. It’s probably similar- the act of taking the tablet (that dissolves immediately on their tongue) calms them down. So it seems like it’s the tablet. I don’t really care why it works just that it does so we use them if they can’t have more ibuprofen and are crying inconsolably.

  15. jane

    November 4, 2014 at 11:27 am

    For realsies

  16. shel

    November 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

    At first I thought the headline was that they “aren’t” bullshit… which is a very different story and I was ready to get all ragey and sciency on it- but then I paid closer atttention and actually read the full headline, including the ‘science mom’ part and felt much better 🙂

    I’m glad you mentioned the strangulation thing…no one seems to ever pay attention to that danger of those necklaces… especially on a younger baby who is just starting to move around and get into things. If they had to recall those ikea lamps for having cords that people were putting to close to the crib and babies were getting strangled, how is this not seen as a bigger strangulation risk? If that gets caught on anything, baby could be in big, big trouble!

    • LK

      November 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Any time anyone mentions these (in the self-rationalizing, I know these don’t work and they seem totally like a bad idea based on all common sense, but I’m using it anyways, so now you have to listen to me convince MYSELF more than you why I bother), I just want to pull one of these

  17. Spongeworthy

    November 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

  18. jendra_berri

    November 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Boom! No, I totally agree. When my baby teethed, I gave baby tylenol. I was advised all sorts of other things, like cold wash cloths and stuff, but i was like, uh, tooth aches = drugs. I’d drug myself into oblivion for a tooth ache, not going to make my baby suffer if I can stop it.
    Magic necklaces were never a contender. I sometimes wonder why the thought of baby supposedly absorbing whatever chemicals from stones is more appealing than regulated baby medicine dosed as needed.
    But I know the answer. NATURAL. All things natural are best. *sigh*

    • Linzon

      November 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Whenever I hemmed and hawed about giving my kids baby drugs for their tooth pain, I just thought back to when I had an impacted wisdom tooth FOR A MONTH and measured out the dose.

    • rockmonster

      November 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Aggh! Wisdom teeth are bastards.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Yeah, I had an infected molar once and had to keep myself from repeatedly slamming my face into a wall. The topical anesthetic they gave me before pulling it was the best thing ever. Certain things just require drugs, because they’re miserable experiences and not necessary to suffer through for the sake of natural.

    • whiteroses

      November 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      My mom is a dental hygienist. She thinks those amber necklaces are the work of the devil, because instead of her patients giving their kids things that actually WORK, they’re having them wear a necklace.

      I gave my son Orajel. And trust me, if I hadn’t done that, the week where my son cut six teeth at the same time would have ended up with me in a corner mainlining 100 proof..something. I wouldn’t have cared what it was, really.

    • Marigold

      November 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Hey, what’s more natural than ice, cotton, sugar and grains? I’m a product of ’70s “natural” teething remedies. My mom took a cotton baby sock, filled it with sugar, tied it off, soaked it in whiskey, and froze it. Cold was soothing, sugar was sweet and made me want to chew on it, the alcohol got me drunk so I passed out and stopped screaming. Win-win right? I mean, we know better now. Natural doesn’t mean better or healthier. Natural sometimes means that you just set your kid up for a lifetime as a dedicated whiskey drinker. Or in the case of the stupid amber beads, a lifetime of chewing on necklaces, hoodie drawstring aglets, and hair. Because that’s what I’ve noticed from working with kids – the ones who were allowed to chew on necklaces as a baby seem to like to chew on other things as they get older.

      Also, I see amber and my mind thinks Jurassic Park. Then I get grossed out imagining some kid gnawing on a bit of dino-dna and I grow concerned about evolution altering those kids genetic structure until a few hundred years from now all of humanity is part raptor and then pretty soon we’ve gone full circle and the tv show Dinosaurs is actually real life.

    • Elizabeth Licata

      November 6, 2014 at 11:11 am

      .. I want to try your mom’s teething remedy. Not for the baby, just for me.

  19. Looby

    November 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Just gonna leave this here
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U

    • rockmonster

      November 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      I posted that once, and some self-professed Indigo Child popped up and started foaming at the mouth claiming that I was evil and hindering humanity’s progress.

    • Looby

      November 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      I think it’s safe to discount anything an Indigo Child says as they are self important Cock-Wombles attempting to justify terrible behaviour

    • Boozy Inactivist

      November 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      This has made my day! I think Storm is my SIL.

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      November 4, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    • Aimee

      November 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

      I <3 Tim Minchin!

  20. LaughingRat

    November 4, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Just when I think I’ve heard about the wooiest of woo, the woomeisters manage to dream up something even wooier. At least this means I will never lack for entertainment. Woo-hoo!

    • Liz

      November 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      If you’re ever having a bad day, google “emf protection.” I stumbled across this once, and I laughed so hard I peed myself and had sore abs for 3 days – and it was worth it.

    • Lilly

      November 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      I thought tin foil hats were the solution to emf energy

      https://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_loq5o7RD4N1qzl8s1o1_400.gif

    • Liz

      November 5, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Oh how I wish for this to become a thing – it would be so much easier to know who to avoid casual conversations with…

    • rockmonster

      November 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      November 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      My mom has a chihuahua/shiba inu mix that we call woo woo because that’s the sound she makes when she’s being sassy. Now I’m picturing her in a little lab coat and glasses dispensing nonsense medical advice to crunchy moms.

    • lea

      November 5, 2014 at 4:26 am

      You need to make this happen!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      November 6, 2014 at 12:52 am

      I so do!

  21. LolaWynn

    November 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Where is there so much mom-shaming in these posts? If you don’t want your child to wear one, that’s fine, but I think the ‘rage’ responses are a bit much. Parents who put these on their children are doing what they think is best, so maybe you should just respect their decision. Also, just because you have a necklace on your child does not mean you don’t believe in science or the value of medicine when necessary.

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      The concern, at least for me, about these necklaces isn’t that they are a bunch of baloney- if you want to waste money on stuff that doesn’t work… whatever, it’s your money.

      My problem is that they pose a real risk to your baby’s health. Most of the ones I’ve seen don’t have any sort of easy to undo clasp, so if the baby who is exploring their world gets caught on something, it presents a severe strangulation hazard. I would prefer to not see babies injured from something useless. In the risk/benefit this product is a major fail.

    • LolaWynn

      November 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I think this would be considered ‘concern-trolling’. The problem I have with this article is that half the articles on Mommyish are all about standing up for parents and their right to make their own decisions and the other half are like this one, which mock and ridicule parents.

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Shel is a pediatrician.

      Also, this is just an article about how the don’t work and there are safety hazards associated with them….

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      I don’t think it’s remotely concern-trolling to point out that something is being falsely marketed.

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      There is a difference, though, because many parenting decisions don’t put your child directly at risk from an easily avoidable harm. And don’t put other children at risk either (which this fad doesn’t hurt other kids unless their parents are being convinced to follow suit) which tend to be the things that are railed against. We all want healthy and safe children.

      I see patients in these necklaces all the time, I don’t call CPS or tell parents that they are bad parents, but I do bring up that there is risk invovled. Just like a bring up the risks of guns (I know! I talk about guns!!) and walkers and hot water and other choking/strangulation hazards etc. That’s my job. Debunking stuff like this that has no proven benefit is how we keep people safe.

    • Jen TheTit Whisperer

      November 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      #HDY. Being a doctor and what not. I mean COME ON!

    • LK

      November 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      If someone was selling magic beans as a cure for teething pain, and there was a Mommyish post detailing how they were totally useless, is that concern trolling?

    • Cindy Ailey

      November 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      When I see a baby wearing one of these things, it usually signals extreme gullibility of the parents.

    • LolaWynn

      November 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      See, why do you have to say something like that? It is rude and condescending. My baby had a really hard time with her first tooth, I got her this necklace just in case it worked. I also used teething tablets and Motrin if necessary. She hasn’t had as hard a time with a tooth since. It actually does not signal my ‘extreme gullibility”.

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      November 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      So how do you separate the benefits of the necklace from the use of Motrin and teething tablets? I’m not being snarky; I’m asking a legitimate question.

    • LolaWynn

      November 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      I’m saying my daughter wears the necklace, hasn’t taken it off in a year. I don’t want people judging me for having it on her, whether I believe in it or not. I just think most of the comments on the article and my post are judgmental and condescending. Do the posters treat people who ‘believe in’ prayer this way? Do they post their cute little GIFs when people say prayer or believing in God is important? It’s the same thing, and basically I’m over it.

    • Foleygirl24

      November 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Except that believing in prayer/God isn’t going to potentially strangle/kill the child. There’s a difference when something poses an actual threat of harm.

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      So you let her sleep with it on?

      Yes, I am judging you for this.

    • shel

      November 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      If you believe the act of prayer is going to cure your child’s diabetes/ meningitis/whatever other treatable and fatal medical condition… and pray instead of taking them to the doctor/hospital, yes… that’s stupid, will kill your child and I will judge you for it. (If you want to pray along with using science/appropriate medical care, pray all you want!)

      If you believe in god/flying spaghetti monster whatever and that brings you peace/comfort. Go for it… Though if you are goin g to force your beliefs on me/ others, it becomes a problem.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      So not even the same thing, I can’t even.

      Scientific research shows that your magic beans don’t cure pain. If you’re putting them on your infant because it’s hip, I’m totally OK with that. Just don’t try to sell people your snake oil or your argument that faith/culture/philosophy are on the same plane with your unfounded belief in the healing properties of baby baubles.

    • Paola

      November 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      They like to get together and foam at the mouth in unison. Just ignore them.

    • whiteroses

      November 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Belief in God versus false science- well, they both involve a fair amount of faith, but it’s really not the same thing. I mean, obviously you believe in it and that’s fine. Your money, your choice, and if you truly believe you made the right one, then whatever scientific evidence or shaming anyone could possibly present will make no difference whatsoever.

    • ChickenKira

      November 5, 2014 at 5:17 am

      People are going to judge you for things you choose to do. Every single person on the face of this earth is judged by others.

      In this case, you are being (indirectly, because no one has said “LolaWynn I’m judging you) judged because you are using something that has zero chance of working with the risk of endangering your child, poor risk-benefit assessment is a normal thing to judge someone for.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I’m not sure what you’re saying. Do you think that the necklace was the thing that “cured” your infant’s teething pain rather than the medications that are known to work? Or are you saying that you didn’t trust the necklace so you used stuff that is known to work? Or are you saying that you weren’t gullible for buying a necklace you didn’t trust only to spend more money on stuff that is known to work? I’m just… I don’t…what?

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Except they are a safety concern. A actual safety concern….as opposed to their non-existent benefits.

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      I think it’s stupid that people are being tricked by this kind of thing. Why shouldn’t there be more articles about things that are useless that parents buy into. This is backed up with a lot of evidence. Why shouldn’t people be told, hey, maybe don’t waste your money on this?

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Apparently, science is just another mom-shamer. Stupid science.

    • LolaWynn

      November 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      You reinforce my point. Thank you.

    • CMJ

      November 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      How so? She literally used actual scientific evidence to debunk these necklaces. She didn’t shame anyone. Using facts does not shame people.

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      If you don’t listen to facts you should be a little ashamed of yourself.

    • LolaWynn

      November 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      True, the article does present primarily facts, albeit in a snarky way. However, the majority of the comments and responses to my original post are quite shame-y and condescending.

    • Danielle

      November 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Science should be ashamed of itself.

    • alexesq33

      November 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Science-bama strikes again.

    • Jen TheTit Whisperer

      November 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Where is there shaming? Aimee is quite literally responding to popular comments/concerns about these. At no point did she say “you’re a twat for buying this”.Questioning a products claims is not shaming. They are not the same thing.

    • LiteBrite(UterineDudebro)

      November 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Shame. It does not mean what you think it means.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      They’re doing what they think is best without having any factual evidence that it IS the best and then passing off their anecdotal “evidence” as facts to their friends, thus perpetuating a myth that amber creates some kind of magical energy that cures pain and, BTW, “selling” the product for the manufacturer (way to fight the man!)

      I’m not mom-shaming, I’m gullible-shaming because with ALL of the factual information readily available for human beings at the click of a button, they would rather “believe” than know.

      (shit, I shamed again)

    • StoonGirl

      November 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      ((giving you high fives from one million angels))
      I wish I could work the gif technology to post this http://i.imgur.com/h1WoNRx.gif but I’m a dinosaur….

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      November 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      LOVE. IT.

    • StoonGirl

      November 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      ooh it worked yay dormant computer skills!

    • noodlestein's danger tits

      November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    • vixenmonkey

      November 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      And people used to leave their sick babies out overnight because they thought they were changelings and the faeries would come back and swap out the sick faerie baby with their healthy kid.

  22. Elizabeth

    November 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    WHOA that Jian burn, well done.

  23. keelhaulrose

    November 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    • js argh

      November 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Dude. Jessica Williams is just…the best. I want her to get her own show.

  24. LaLa

    November 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Yeah, I have a friend who’s youngest wears one of these. It freaks me out because she also has a toddler and I just know that the two year old is going to grab it and yank. She’s also one of this moms who constantly posts stuff about “healing” her kid’ cavities.

  25. Rose

    November 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I bought one when my oldest was a baby. Yeah, that’s right. And I didn’t think it did anything. I asked my aunt, who has a degree in gemology, what she thought of amber necklaces, and she thought I was joking. She told me a lot of what has already been said here, succinic acid has to be melted to super hot, not enough even in each bead to matter, etc. She did say maybe the body heat-ed beads might feel good around a baby’s neck, but strangulation hazard.
    Also, try telling this to a bunch of hippie/AP/”natural parenting” moms. See what happens. =)

  26. Danielle

    November 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Can you please call my mom and explain placebo by proxy to her? Because I went off about amber teething necklaces and homeopathic teething remedies and she insisted that they must work if the parents say they do. No, mom. No.

    • Aimee

      November 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

      I can’t successfully explain it to my own mom, so … 🙁

  27. noodlestein's danger tits

    November 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Wait, this is a thing??? http://replygif.net/i/1154.gif Indeed, Kanye, indeed.

  28. mamaduck_75

    November 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I’m all about natural remedies and cures, but some claims are just plain false. I believe this is one of them. We used frozen teethers.

    • Aimee

      November 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

      no u

  29. Rachel Sea

    November 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    If I’m going to use magic to distract a child from teething pain, I’m going to go for something with more flash than fossilized sap. http://media.giphy.com/media/WprOoUOV8tbbO/giphy.gif

  30. Hutch

    November 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    “Also, the plural of ‘anecdote’ is ‘cool stories, bro’; not ‘scientific data’”
    Yes!!

  31. wildrumpusmom

    November 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I use one on my son. Does it work? I dunno. Does it make me feel like I am at least trying to help? Yup. Does it look cute on him. Yup.
    He doesn’t wear it to sleep. It has a break away latch just in case it get caught. I do give him Oragel and Motrin. And he actually likes it. If I forget to put it on him, he brings it to me.
    Sure it’s probably voodoo, but meh. You just never know.

    • Ursi

      November 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      That’s fair. I pay more at the masseuse for reflexology even though I’m pretty sure it’s BS because what if? Also it feels amazing.

    • Jessica Johnson

      November 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      I’m glad to hear that at least some of them have a breakaway on them.

    • wildrumpusmom

      November 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Honestly, I thought they all did. Who would buy/make something for a baby without a break away one it (that’s rhetorical – don’t answer that)? I mean cat collars are break away. Why wouldn’t baby necklaces be (again don’t answer that)?

    • js argh

      November 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      A friend offered me one she hadn’t used, and I was too chickenshit to tell her I thought the amber necklace thing was bullshit. So I thanked her and brought it home.

      It had a male-female screw latch. I remember seeing that feature alone and being horrified.

    • Jessica Johnson

      November 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      That’s just crazy, those clasps are a pain to undo on an adult standing still. Even if it were safe, I can’t imagine trying to fasten/unfasten one on a wiggly kid.

  32. alexesq33

    November 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Every time I see these around a kid’s neck I just think – WHY DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING AROUND YOUR FUCKING INFANT’S NECK?

  33. Jessie Lamontagne

    November 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I have a teething necklace for my son… It’s made of silicone beads and I’m the one who wears it. When he’s in my arms he chews on the beads and the counter pressure is soothing his aching gums. Actual science.

  34. Samantha Lobdell

    November 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t amber a kind of stone? Ancient tree sap, I think, but I thought it was still some sort of stone.

    So the new parenting fad is to let your kid teeth on rocks? Who comes up with this?!

    (For the record, my mom said she used to put wet wash clothes in the freezer and gave me those. Probably not organic, but I imagine it’s a lot safer and cheaper than fancy rock jewelry.)

    • Amber Starr

      November 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I did the frozen washcloth thing this year with my daughter. It really did help…. your momma was on to something 😉

    • Victoria

      November 9, 2014 at 10:37 am

      I don’t think they are teething on the stones but that there is a new age-y belief that wearing amber helps with pain and since teething is pain, well, you know.

  35. rockmonster

    November 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

  36. lulu64

    November 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    You just solved a mystery – I wondered why several of my parent friends had babies wearing necklaces in their facebook photos. Now I know. And I am sad.

  37. Blueathena623

    November 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    True amber is ancient tree sap. There have been multiple cases of scientists finding ancient viruses and bacteria (sometimes in insects stuck in the amber, sometimes in spores) in amber. I know it’s one hell of a long shot, but I don’t want my kid biting on something that may contain a pathogen that’s been gone for eons.

    • Rachel Sea

      November 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      How embarrassing would it be to have you kid be patient zero in the hemorrhagic herpes epidemic because they ate a bead containing a previously unknown virus? I’m pretty sure that when parents fantasize that their kid will get something named for them, they aren’t thinking about diseases.

    • Shea

      November 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Dude, write that shit up. I’d read that book/see that movie. You’re sitting on a gold mine!

    • js argh

      November 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Like Jurassic Park, but with rabid babies!

    • Blueathena623

      November 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      My thought process on reading your comment:
      “Rabid BaBies, so that’s RaBies, oh wait, that’s really a thing.”

    • Aimee

      November 5, 2014 at 10:49 am

      I’m singing the Muppet Babies theme song in my head right now, except as “Rabies Babies”. “Rabies babies, we foam at the mouth for youu-uuu …”

    • KarenMS

      November 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      I will never not think of Jurassic Park when speaking of amber. Where my true education began…

  38. jo

    November 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    LOVE this! Although idiots are steadfast in their refusal to understand logic, so your intended audience is probably going to ignore this anyway 🙁

  39. H

    November 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Yay!!

  40. Laurenhfx

    November 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    According to some they also prevent cats and dogs from getting fleas and ticks.

    http://www.amberstonepets.com/

    • Jessica Johnson

      November 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      If those weren’t so expensive in the sizes I’d need (20 and 22 inches. the one called Big Dog is $85.99 and $89.99 respectively), I would so get those for my dogs. Not because of any potential flea-repelling properties, just because big chunks of amber on my brown dogs with yellow eyes would be stunning. And it’s tough to find “floozy collars” for big doggies.

  41. Allyson_et_al

    November 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    This was so awesome. I already posted it to my anti-woo FB group.

  42. Lindsey Sweet

    November 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I love you! I’m so sending this article to my sister. Whenever I have my niece, I take the stupid thing off of her. It looks awful, and I’m always worried about her choking.

  43. Kelly

    November 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I lived in Russia for about half a year and all the amber that they were selling was really really expensive. I was able to buy one really cheap amber necklace but I am sure there is not much real amber. It leads me to believe that these necklaces are not real amber or not of good quality. I am not sure if I am right. Could anyone explain?

    • Blueathena623

      November 4, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Yeah, I’m looking at a Nat Geo gift catalogue, and some small amber earrings in sterling silver are 60 bucks.

  44. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrotAgain

    November 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Yeah, I have read all these facts before. And yet, the one I wear around my wrist has helped with my rheumatoid arthritis from the day it was put on my body. And I got it as a gift, and went into the experience thinking “well, this is bullshit, but it’s cute, so I’ll let her put it on me.” If it’s all in my head, it’s all in my head…but whatever it is, I’ll take it.

    • Victoria

      November 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

      The thing about chronic pain is that if something stops the pain it stops the pain and it really doesn’t matter if it’s placebo or not if you’re in less pain (as long as it isn’t masking symptoms of something more serious that is). When I was living with chronic pain before having the surgery that would ultimately end it, I would have tried just about anything to feel better (well, not anything, since I vehemently refused to see a fundamentalist faith healer my ex (who was not my ex at the time) knew. But if someone had said “wear this bracelet/necklace” I would have tried it). Obviously, with a baby the risk of strangulation/choking outweighs any potentially placebo benefits, and I’m really uncomfortable with people who completely dismiss science altogether, but if you’re an adult and can make an informed decision and you’re not ignoring any potential health risks, I don’t see the harm. When you’re in pain, you’re in pain.

  45. mommystired

    November 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    When my daughter was a baby, deep in the trenches of teething hell, I spent $35 (plus $12 shipping!) for an amber teething necklace from like, Croatia. My husband pretty much was like “DAFUQ??!” The first night I left her alone with him, he cut it off of her. Because, science.

  46. brebay

    November 5, 2014 at 12:59 am

    I love when science just comes in the room and throws down and breaks shit all up. Love!

  47. ChickenKira

    November 5, 2014 at 4:55 am

    I had the most long winded, stupid facebook argument with someone about placebo by proxy, she just didn’t understand how it was possible for the placebo effect to be in her interpretation of her baby’s symptoms.
    But then she also said that she knows they work because she had a headache one night so she wore an amber necklace to bed and woke up without a headache, then told me I was ridiculous when I said that sleep probably fixed her headache. So, you know, genius right there.

    • Aimee

      November 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Maybe if you could get an article about how sleep is good for your health on Mercola’s website or in a Gwyneth Paltrow book …

  48. Leah

    November 5, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I’ve been hearing so much about these from my crunchy mommy friends and I’ve thought it was crazy, so I appreciate information. Thanks for this. Also, “Amber teething necklaces are a strangulation hazard with zero redeeming qualities. Much like Jian Ghomeshi.” Best. Line. Ever.

  49. Harp

    November 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

    You know what….I got one of these for my son. Kid is the SLOWEST teether imaginable. He gets two teeth at a time and it literally takes weeks for them to come through. He has been working on his bottom two side teeth for about a month. I am not going to give him pain reliever multiple times per day for a month. But, he is just miserable. So, although skeptical, I got one. I didn’t think it would hurt to give it a try, I was willing to try practically anything. Do I think it really helps? Meh. But dang if he doesn’t LOVE wearing it. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he wants to do is put the necklace on (because of course I take it off when he sleeps). He also doesn’t wear it to daycare where other kids might mess with it. He also doesn’t mess with it….it just sits around his neck until we take it off. So…I think as long as you are smart about it, and follow common sense, I’m not sure why in general these make people “ragey”. I’m (for the most part) not a crazy person! 🙂

  50. Choolio

    November 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    So “crunchy” parenting makes you rage? That just makes you a super twat, but whatever…not your point, I’m sure. btw, the commercially sold necklaces have breakaway clasps.

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