Baby gets lead poisoning from teething bracelet

Teething is a challenging time.
Teething is a challenging time. Photo: Shutterstock

When my babies were teething, I would have tried anything to help soothe those red, swollen gums – not to mention the grizzling and sleepless nights.

But not all so-called remedies are safe, and this story is a reminder to do your research when it comes to the safety of products for your baby.

A baby in the US recently acquired lead poisoning from a "magnetic healing bracelet" that her parents picked up at a local fair. It was being advertised as a cure for teething pain.

The bracelet in question.
The bracelet in question. 

A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the parents placed the bracelet on the 9-month-old baby girl's wrist to help relieve the discomfort of teething. Anyone who has had a teething baby won't be surprised to know the baby then chewed on the bracelet.

It wasn't until the baby was undergoing standard tests with her doctor that it was discovered she was suffering from lead poisoning, with almost eight times the acceptable upper limit of lead in her system.

After an exhaustive search of the home for what was causing the lead poisoning, it was discovered that the bracelets spacer beads had 170 times the acceptable lead limit. It had no label disclosing its lead content or advising it should not be put in the mouth.

The Manchester Health Department was unable to find the maker of the bracelets, which shows how difficult it is to police the sale of such irresponsible products for babies. That leaves the onus on parents to ensure they are careful about the products they buy for their children – especially if it's likely they'll be placed in the mouth.

Not only can jewellery such as this teething bracelet pose a poisoning threat, but if it's not made correctly (and it's hard to imagine many guidelines were adhered to), it could also be a choking hazard.

Teething is a challenging time, but Paracetamol and patience are sometimes the best option.