On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents that benzocaine-based teething gels are putting infants’ health at risk.
The regulator urged manufacturers to stop introducing benzocaine in products designed for babies and toddlers. The FDA reported that the numbing agent can lead to side-effects that can prove fatal to children aged 2 or younger.
It is not the first time the federal agency warns against the products. It has issued such warnings for more than a decade as reports of disease and deaths continued to climb. This year, the FDA wants benzocaine-based teething products off the shelves. FDA researchers are not even convinced that the products work as marketed.
“We urge parents, caregivers, and retailers who sell them to heed our warnings and not use over-the-counter products containing benzocaine for teething pain,” a statement from the FDA reads. The regulator threatened to sue companies that do not recall the products designed for babies and toddlers.
Manufacturers were not given a deadline, but they should comply immediately.
Benzocaine-based Teething Gel Can Be Dangerous
FDA even uploaded an educational clip to YouTube urging parents not to put medicine on their small children’s gums. The clip informed parents that benzocaine can cause methemoglobinemia in babies, which is a life-threatening condition that deprives their blood of oxygen.
Parents are also advised to stay away from homeopathic products that tout themselves as teething cures. One of the most popular teething product is Baby Orajel which promises “instant relief” for babies.
Baby Orajel’s maker said Wednesday that it would discontinue the product line, which includes a brand of popular teething swabs. Other products will not be discontinued, according to an e-mail from the company.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to not use teething gels or creams. Instead, parents should use teething rings or give the babies’ gums a massage to relieve the pain.
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