Baltic Amber Teething Fail

This anklet was on my son for less than 10 minutes before he ripped it apart and attempted to swallow it whole.

This anklet was on my son for less than 10 minutes before he ripped it off (and apart) attempting to swallow it whole.

It seems wherever I go, I see little ones sporting Baltic amber beads on their necks, wrists, or ankles. Parents swear by these accessories, claiming the amber provides a natural pain relief when beads are warm, thus soothing a teething baby/toddler with inflamed gums. Do I buy it? Not really. But that’s not the the point of this post. I respect these parents’ decision to purchase Baltic amber jewelry, in an attempt to try to soothe baby’s pain in a natural way. In fact, I, too, was willing to give it a shot. What did I have to lose?

As I was contemplating purchasing some beads for my poor, ravenous, Bubba, I happened to receive a babySTEALS email for a deal on amber teething jewelry from a vendor (whose name I have decided not to disclose in this post). My aim is not to bad-mouth this vendor, just to bring awareness and caution to other parents when it comes to purchasing products for your kiddos. Do not assume these vendors are properly testing or informing customers of potential dangers. I checked this particular vendor’s site–I had been researching reviews and info on these healing beads, (very inconclusive, by the way) and wanted to be sure I knew exactly what I was receiving. I placed an order for the bracelet/anklet (I’m too nervous about anything being around his neck) and within a week, the Baltic amber arrived.

It was perfect timing, considering Bubs was in the midst of teething HELL (aren’t they always?) and I excitedly rolled it around his ankle. I figured the ankle wasn’t as distracting as his wrist, and it wasn’t, at first. I told my husband about it, and he scoffed at me, saying something to the affect of “Come on…you don’t believe that is actually gonna work…our son is going to wear this all the time?…why waste money?”…etc. We were both home that day, and were watching him play. Within MINUTES of Bubba wearing this anklet, he suddenly got wise and ripped it off (it actually broke!) and plopped the hole string of beads in his mouth. My husband yelled “He got it off! It’s in his mouth!” We rushed to him and fished it out. We were both livid…for different reasons.

He was livid at me for making such an irresponsible decision. Was this just an experiment? At what cost? I felt like a terrible mom. I was livid at the vendor for making such a crappy product that a baby could dismantle, without any sort of disclaimer on the packaging or website. Seriously. I hung my head in shame, and immediate got online to contact the vendor and babySTEALS. Both companies were apologetic and assured me I’d get a refund. Great. But to be honest, as a concerned parent, I wanted the undisclosed vendor to take responsibility and warn parents that this might happen, instead of simply replying to me with the following email:

“Lauren,

We are truly sorry that you had an issue with your amber. As with any man made product, no matter how strict the quality controls are the occasional piece can come through with a defect. It is good to bear in mind that there is a delicate balance between a string strong enough to hold up to a little one and yet weak enough to break in case of entanglement. I am sure that Steals will be happy to refund your money if you contact them. They are an outstanding company with excellent customer service.”
Are you kidding me? Occasional defect? I understand the “delicate balance” line, but I’d much rather cut off his stupid anklet than worry about him choking. I love how it’s written in a manner that implies that this is just something I have to accept. It’s not like I can watch him like a hawk all day when he’s wearing the anklet, you know? So, to me it’s not worth it. Sorry Moms, I am much happier giving my son frozen teethers, mesh feeders with ice, teething biscuits, or an occasional dose of Infant Tylenol when the going gets tough. At least I know he is not at risk of choking on beads (that I am not even sure actually work). Needless to say, I got a full refund.

Please take this post not an opinion piece, but as a warning to think carefully when making purchases for your tot.
There are vendors, like the one I dealt with, that do not perform the proper due-diligence when it comes to informing consumers–unknowingly putting little ones in danger. I did mention this to the vendor by the way, and as of today, their website still has nothing (not even a FAQ section!) to warn parents of an occasional “defect”. As parents, it’s up to us to do our research, make informed decisions, and speak up if we feel a product is dangerous. Maybe enough complaints will get this vendor to be a little more responsible.

7 comments

  1. Marie Lawrence says:

    Vendors do forget of the possibility that children can be using their beads. It’s always important for a parent to know that businesses forget with child protection labels and its important to not trust in any business when it comes to protecting your child.

  2. Jess says:

    How scary! I’ve always been super skeptical about putting something that could be a choking hazard if (when?) they figure a way to remove it. Glad you got a refund, but I think the vendor needs to consider the seriousness of what could happen in the case of a defect! Don’t feel like a bad mom though. You were watching. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A tip I learned when my babes were teething – frozen waffles. I usually make my own and freeze them between wax paper, or you can use store bought. They feel great to gnaw on, and as they chew the waffle thaws so they can snack a bit, but they never get pieces big enough to be a choking concern. Good luck!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks,Jess!

      It was a hard lesson for me, but I did forgive myself. Yes, these vendors need to take responsibility too. Great tip on the waffles! I’ll have to share that one with the readers–if you don’t mind ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you have a specific waffle recipe you follow?

      • Jess says:

        Go for it! If you want to link to my blog too, feel free. ๐Ÿ™‚ The recipe I use is super basic and I alter it depending on what I have, but generally it’s something like this:

        Mix 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Add 2-3 mashed bananas, 1/2 cup applesauce or oil (or any combo – I usually use half applesauce and half coconut oil), and 3-4 cups milk (basically any type, I mix everything else and add the milk last until it’s a good batter consistency).

        I have 4 kids so this makes a fair amount, but I usually double it to have plenty for freezing. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Jess says:

          Also – so funny – I was invited to read your page by Jen Harris when she guest posted, but reading your about section, I just now realized that you and I also went to high school together! Cute blog, I’m enjoying following!

          • Lauren says:

            Wow! I remember you, Jess! What a beautiful blog, and what darling children! Thanks for the recipe. We need to talk. I’d love to feature you and your blog. Will be in touch soon!

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