Stop Using Benzocaine Teething Products, FDA Warns

Parents may want to hold off on using teething products for children under the age of 2 if they contain the local anesthetic benzocaine.

Health officials from the Food and Drug Administration say using benzocaine gels and liquids can lead to a potentially fatal condition called methemoglobinemia – a disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream, according to a FDA news release. Children under the age of 2 appear to be at particular risk for this rare disorder. FDA authorities say parents should not use these products for children under 2 except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional.

Since 2006, 29 cases of methemoglobinemia have been reported to the FDA. Nineteen were children; 15 of those were toddlers under the age of 2, the news release states.

Health authorities recommend parents use a chilled teething ring or gently rub a child’s gums instead.

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