FDA warning for treating teething babies

Researchers recommend against prescription, over-the-counter medications


The Food and Drug Administration has a message for parents of teething babies. You don't need prescription or over-the-counter medications to treat their aching gums.
Dr. Kim Giuliano, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's, says there are a couple of reasons for the FDA warning.

"The side-effects can be lasting and significant. Sometimes we can see children get irritation at the site it was applied and a localized allergic reaction. And more seriously, we can sometimes see these medications numb their throat and cause swallowing difficulties," she said.

FDA researchers are warning parents prescription drugs like Lidocaine Viscous, which is a local anesthetic that comes in syrup, are not safe for teething infants.
The FDA previously came out against the use of over-the-counter Benzocaine products, as well. These typically come in a gel-form for children under 2.

"The reason that we recommend avoiding them is they can have some serious consequences for children and don't really work all that well. As soon as a child starts drooling they often drool the gel away and the effect is only momentary," said Giuliano.

In lieu of medications, they're recommending rubbing or massaging your child's gums if they're swollen or tender. Or, Giuliano says there are plenty of things you can give your baby to relieve the pain.

"Teething rings that have been in the refrigerator, you never want to put the teething ring in the freezer because that can actually cause damage to their gums if it's too cold. Chewing on a wet washcloth that is cold can be beneficial, as well as giving them either a frozen bagel or banana to gnaw on a little bit," Giuliano said.

Read more about this warning from the Food and Drug Administration and find out about safer options.