A SENIOR Swindon doctor has warned of the danger of amber teething necklaces.

Dr Lucy Grain, a consultant paediatrician at Great Western Hospital, said she had seen up to 50 of the amber necklaces and bracelets worn by youngsters in her clinic.

It is claimed oils supposedly released by the amber necklaces, which have enjoyed growing popularity among parents in recent years, have a soothing affect on teething babies.

But Dr Grain dismissed the pseudo-science behind the necklaces as wrong. Warning parents of the dangers of the necklaces, she pointed to a recent diktat from the US Food and Drug Administration alerting parents to cases of children dying or being seriously injured after choking on the jewellery.

“For some time, I have had many anxieties about babies wearing teething necklaces,” she said.

“I had seen them in clinic a number of times and I felt anxious seeing anything around a baby’s neck. On a number of occasions I said to parents I had concerns about the necklaces.

“Sadly, children have died as a result of choking or strangulation from teething necklaces and this makes the dangers all the more present and concerning.”

Those who advocate using the necklaces claim the amber releases oils containing succinic acid when the stones are warmed by the baby’s skin. The acid supposedly has a pain-relieving effect.

But Dr Grain blasted the idea as “not biologically plausible”.

Last month, the US FDA issued a consumer warning about the necklaces. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said: “We know that teething necklaces and jewellery products have become increasingly popular among parents and caregivers who want to provide relief for children’s teething pain and sensory stimulation for children with special needs.

“We’re concerned about the risks we’ve observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewellery puts children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death.”

A sleeping 18-month-old child had been strangled to death by his amber teething necklace, the FDA said.

Dr Grain pressed the benefits of alternatives to teething necklaces: “I would warn very strongly against the use of teething necklaces, and instead encourage parents of young babies to consider other teething options such as rubber teething rings or dummies.”

Babies begin teething from around six months. As the babies’ first teeth push through their gums it can cause soreness, leading youngsters to chew to relieve pain. Teething necklaces can pose strangulation or a choking risk, compared to more traditional rubber dummies.