Under certain conditions, benzocaine can trigger a rare and sometimes fatal blood condition called methemoglobinemia which causes dangerously low oxygen levels in the blood with resulting symptoms of ashen, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and fingernail beds, shortness of breath, headache, light-headedness and rapid heart rate possible.
Problems with benzocaine were first announced in 2006 and since then, 29 cases of methemoglobinemia have been reported 19 of which were in children and 15 of those in children under 2.
Another warning occurred in 2011.
The scary symptoms triggered by benzocaine can occur within minutes or even hours after use of a teething product or other liquid containing it. Methemoglobinemia can occur the first time the product is used or much later after several uses even when the child appeared fine previously.
Of course, if your child experiences any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately.
A better course of action would be to avoid use of these dangerous products at all and utilize non-toxic remedies that are safe and effective with no risk of fatal blood conditions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a chilled teething ring or gently massaging your child’s gums with your finger as alternative ways to provide relief.
While these methods may seem safer, I personally didn’t want my children chomping on plastic or anything that might introduce another chemical danger like BPA to their vulnerable little bodies.
Massaging the gums does work but is not always practical if you are trying to get your baby to sleep and he won’t lie still due to teething discomfort.
Homeopathy to the Rescue!
In cases where you just need fast help with teething pain, try homeopathic teething pills. These tiny white pills are sweetened with lactose, a sugar abundant in breastmilk rather than white sugar or artificial sweeteners.
They also dissolve with no chewing, so even babies with no teeth can easily take them. As a bonus, homeopathic teething pills are quite inexpensive like many homeopathic remedies I’ve used.
I can’t tell you how many times I had a crying, fussy child in discomfort from teething pain who calmed down and went to sleep within minutes of having a couple of these tiny homeopathic pills placed under the tongue!
My husband and I used to call homeopathic teething pills “magic pills” because of how amazingly fast and effective they were. For any homeopathy doubters out there, the effect is not placebo either, as a baby who is still nonverbal wouldn’t even know what this meant!
So skip the dangerous, over the counter gels and other remedies containing benzocaine and other chemicals to soothe your teething child.
Try homeopathy instead. Hopefully, you will be as delighted as we were with the nontoxic, effective results!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist