Best Non-Toxic Teething Toys – Having and raising a baby is an exciting endeavour. It is a whole new world full of love and adventure for newly-minted parents and their tiny bundles of joy as they navigate the many milestones. Unfortunately, some baby milestones are not pain or worry-free. It is challenging for parents to watch their babies experience pain.

This includes the process of teething. On average, a baby often starts trading that cute gummy smile for a toothy grin around four months old. However, a child reaches three years old before acquiring a full set of milk teeth, all 20 of them. In very rare cases, a newborn baby can be born with one or two milk teeth or start sprouting them in the first weeks after being born.  Teething can be a very uncomfortable process. A baby may be fussier or spike a temperature.

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Here are some signs a baby has started the teething process:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Fussiness
  • Biting anything and everything within reach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ear and cheek pulling near the area of the mouth
  • Swelling of the gums

Once teething has begun, a baby chews on just about anything. This includes hands, fingers or perhaps a mother’s nipple. Babies do this to relieve the pain, itching, and pressure in the mouth.

Keep a close watch as babies may teeth on items around the house that are rife with bacteria such as remote controls and phones.

To prevent this, put these items out of a baby’s reach, and buy baby teethers or teething toys that are safe. Teethers or teething toys can be introduced around a baby’s third month.

Non-Toxic Teething Toys
How To Help A Teething Baby

Teething can be uncomfortable for a baby. Some might be tempted to give the baby medication to help dull or numb the pain. Consult with a pediatrician before giving your baby any medication.

Here are some other actions to alleviate a teething baby’s discomfort:

Offer soft foods

Solid foods may be a part of a baby’s diet around this time. Do not let the teething process interrupt this dietary milestone. If a baby refuses solid food, try switching to soft solids like yogurt, applesauce and finely pureed soups.

Massage the baby’s gums

Pressure and massages may give a baby’s itchy and painful gums some relief. Do this with a clean gauze or a soft washcloth.

Use ice cubes or ice chips

Wrap some ice cubes or ice chips in a clean washcloth, and apply this to a teething baby’s gums. Do not hold it to the baby’s gums too long as it can burn the baby’s gums. Take care not to let your baby suck on the ice directly.

Offer safe teethers or teething toys

The best thing a parent or a caregiver can do for a teething baby is to offer something safe on which to chew. There are many kinds of teethers or teething toys available on the market. However, some contain harmful chemicals. Only give your baby non-toxic teething toys [1].

A study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology found that the chemical bisphenol-A or BPA, which is banned from use in baby bottles, sippy cups and other eating and drinking utensils, is still prevalently used in some brands of baby teethers.

The study involved testing dozens of brands of baby teethers and found they all contained this dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemical, as well as the antimicrobial agents’ triclosan and triclocarban [2].  Endocrine disruptors work by disrupting natural hormone production which can eventually lead to negative developmental, neurological and reproductive issues.

Aside from the BPA, the teethers also tested positive for the presence of parabens [3]. This means that unwitting parents or caregivers could expose their infants to toxic chemicals. This is especially alarming as teethers are made precisely to be chewed.

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Safe Teething Toys For Babies
Safe Teething Toys For Babies

Teethers provide instant relief for babies with gums that are swollen and itchy because of growing teeth. Teethers come in many forms and designs. At the moment, teething mitts are really popular which are silicone mittens that a baby can wear.

Another popular teething toy is a teething necklace. This is typically made of rubber. Some are made for a baby to wear and others for the mother to wear. However, the FDA recently warned parents about teething necklaces after a 7-month-old choked on the beads and an 18-month-old choked on a necklace [4].

When it comes to something that comes in contact with a young baby, it is not enough to be cute or provide sensory stimulation. The item has to be made with non-toxic materials, manufactured in a safe way and pass all health tests and standards.

High-quality teething toys might cost more, but it is worth it for a baby’s well-being and safety. Stay away from anything made from plastic, especially PVC and vinyl, and avoid those containing endocrine disrupting chemicals, parabens, fragrances, and phthalates. Also, make sure there are no parts that can pierce the baby’s gums and cause a subsequent infection.

Instead, consider the following materials when choosing a teether for your baby:

Wooden Teething Toys

Wooden toys are enjoying a resurgence in popularity in 2019, especially those with a Scandinavian inspired design. Choose one with no finish or a natural, vegetable-based finish.

Food-Grade Silicone Teething Toys

Silicone is probably the most popular material for baby teethers. However, it varies in purity. Food-grade silicone has a soft and chewy consistency great for massaging and soothing a baby’s sore gums. Also, silicone is easy to sterilize. Make sure any silicone teethers are BPA free and will not leach any toxic chemicals such as phthalates.

Rubber Teething Toys

Another good choice of material for teething toys is 100% natural rubber harvested from the Hevea tree. The perfectly chewy and flexible material is perfect for teething babies. As a bonus, natural rubber is a renewable resource, non-toxic and has antibacterial properties. It is safe for babies and good for the environment. However, this type of teether is not recommended if your child has a latex allergy.

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A Last Word On Non-Toxic Teething Toys
A Last Word On Non-Toxic Teething Toys

Keep in mind that the first three years of a baby’s life are crucial to overall brain and body development. This is also how long it takes to grow a complete a set of milk teeth. Expect a lot of biting and chewing from babies. They may be constantly putting things in their mouths. There is no such thing as being too cautious.

Babies are too young to know any better, and they will keep on putting anything their little hands can grab into their mouths. As parents and caregivers, do your utmost to shield your baby from exposure to anything that has the potential to cause harm. Properly sterilize teethers and teething toys before giving them to your baby, and regularly clean them. Teething toys tend to be dropped and thrown quite a lot.

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Non-Toxic Teething Toys Resources:

[1]   ACS; Baby teethers soothe, but many contain low levels of BPA, December 07, 2016.
[2]   ACS; Baby teethers soothe, but many contain low levels of BPA, December 07, 2016.
[3]   ACS; Baby teethers soothe, but many contain low levels of BPA, December 07, 2016.
[4]   U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; FDA warns about safety risks of teething necklaces, bracelets to relieve teething pain or to provide sensory stimulation, December 20, 2018.

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