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The big beads debate

Amber teething necklaces may be a danger to babies and young children despite the reported health benefits.
Amber teething necklaces may be a danger to babies and young children despite the reported health benefits. Claudia Baxter

HUNDREDS of Ipswich babies are wearing "pain-relieving" amber necklaces - despite official choking warnings and a lack of proof the jewellery relieves teething pain.

The baby jewellery is marketed on the Pram Warehouse Ipswich website as a pain reliever and is said to work by releasing "healing oils" into the skin.

But a warning by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the necklaces presenting "a choking hazard" to children under three has not deterred Ipswich parents from adopting the trend.

Pram Warehouse Ipswich manager Sarah Hines said there had been a high demand for the products.

"We had them ordered in because so many people were asking about them," Ms Hines said.

"We often run out of them and we've only got three left from an order of 50."

An Ipswich childcare director said up to "four out of 10 children" wore the necklaces, which were removed at the childcare centre as part of a safety policy.

"They've become quite popular; we've definitely seen an increase," she said.

"We ask them to be taken off while the children are here because they pose a safety risk."

Another child care director said they were a matter of parents' individual tastes.

Dr Simon Barnett, a GP at Ipswich's University of Queensland Health Care, echoed the ACCC's call for parents to always supervise children who wore the necklaces.

"A lot of patients have children that wear them, but what worries me is if the baby is left unattended - there is potential for strangulation or of the necklace breaking and the child inhaling a bead," Dr Barnett said.

"If they're adequately supervised the necklaces shouldn't be a problem, but they shouldn't be left alone to sleep with them on."

Yesterday, dozens of mums praised the amber necklaces on the QT Facebook page.

Booval mum Toni Toro said she purchased a necklace for her son after encouragement from Ipswich Hospital midwives and friends.

"I bought it with the intention it would help with teething, but I don't think it works," Ms Toro said. "I've heard from mums who say it definitely works, other mums who say it might relieve teething but doesn't help with dribbling, and mums who don't think it works."

Topics:  australian competition and consumer commission jewellery



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