Toddler almost strangled by teething necklace

Ellie wearing the well-fitted necklace before the incident and images showing the marks it left on her arm and neck ...
Ellie wearing the well-fitted necklace before the incident and images showing the marks it left on her arm and neck after becoming twisted while she slept. Photo: Supplied

A shocked mother has told how her daughter almost strangled herself while wearing a Baltic amber teething necklace as she slept.

Ashleigh Ferguson was horrified when she went to check on 21-month-old Ellie during the toddler's morning nap on February 17.

The little girl normally jumps up when her mum walks in to her room, but on this occasion she remained face down and was silent.

"She had been asleep longer than usual, so I went in to check on her," Ms Ferguson said.

"Ellie is a really light sleeper so I was worried when she didn't even move when I walked in.

"I rolled her over and saw she had got her arm underneath the necklace and twisted it around. I undid the necklace and took it off her straight away and thankfully she started to rouse."

Ellie had managed to twist the necklace into a figure 8 and the pressure it put on her neck and arm left deep marks which took more than 12 hours to disappear.

Ms Ferguson was shaken by the incident and hates to think about what might have been.

"It could have ended so differently if I hadn't checked on her and she had twisted it tighter, I just hate to think about it," the mum-of-two from Wodonga said.

Baltic amber necklaces claim to offer children relief from the symptoms of teething. Some experts say their is no scientific proof they work, but popularity of the necklaces has sky-rocketed in recent years.

The necklaces, available from chemists, small retailers and online, are worn by babies as young as six weeks old.

Thankfully Ellie was unharmed by the incident with her necklace and quickly returned to her usual happy self once she was awake.

However a shaken Ms Ferguson took to social media to warn other parents of the danger of letting babies and toddlers sleep in the necklaces.

A Facebook post she wrote shortly after finding the necklace twisted around Ellie's neck has now been shared more than 60,000 times.

Ms Ferguson had no idea the post she wrote for her friends would be seen by so many people, but she is glad her message is getting out.

She is keen to point out her daughter's necklace was genuine Baltic amber and was the correct size for her daughter to be wearing.

"People think if they are good quality and are fitted correctly then they are safe 24/7. That's what I thought too, but it's not the case" Ms Ferguson said. 

"Ellie's necklace fitted properly and I believed that if it was pulled on or twisted that it would break and not strangle her."

Despite warnings to supervise babies and toddlers at all times when they are wearing the necklaces, many parents leave them on their children day and night.

"If you believe they are working to reduce problems with teething then you want them to help while they are sleeping too," Ms Ferguson said.

"She had a safe sleep environment, there was nothing else in her bed. I never thought this could happen."

Sadly Ms Ferguson has received some abusive messages since sharing her story.

"At first they worried me, but I have also received lots of messages from strangers saying they have taken a necklace off their baby at bedtime after seeing my post," she said.

"That is much more important to me than worrying about rude comments from people who don't know me or anything about my parenting."

The Australian Consumer Commission has safety guidelines about Baltic amber teething necklaces posted on it's website.

Consumers using the product are advised to:

• always supervise the infant when wearing the necklace or bracelet

• remove the necklace or bracelet when the infant is unattended, even if it is only for a short period of time 

• remove the necklace or bracelet while the infant sleeps at day or night 

• not allow the infant to mouth or chew the necklace or bracelet 

• consider using alternate forms of pain relief 

• seek medical advice if you have concerns about your child's health and wellbeing.