Teething necklaces are primarily designed to be worn as jewellery, but they provide an additional function as a teether for babies. They are generally made of silicone or other chewable material beads, strung together to be worn by mum, and advertised as suitable for babies to chew on. Teething necklaces may be found on-line or at weekend markets.
Choking or strangulation
Teething necklaces pose a serious choking hazard or strangulation risk to babies and toddlers. The ACCC is concerned that an unsupervised child could be exposed to particular risks or hazards.
Action of unsupervised child
Wearing a teething necklace
Risk of strangulation
Mouthing a teething necklace with a flexible thread
Necklaces made with small beads could be a choking hazard
Plays with the necklace and the thread breaks
Individual beads could be a choking hazard
Teething necklaces are usually colourful and playful in design, and may be confused with toys. Marketing of a necklace as in any way suitable for a child to play with could also lead to the foreseeable misuse of the product, which may result in choking or strangulation. This harm could occur despite labelling advice attached to a teething necklace warning of associated risks.
The ACCC is issuing this warning after marketplace testing of various products. Our results showed that some teething necklaces would fail the mandatory requirements for teethers.
Suppliers and legal advice
Necklaces manufactured from silicone or other chewable materials, particularly when marketed as teething necklaces, are likely to be covered by the mandatory standard.
Teething necklaces are not likely to meet the requirements of a teether as stipulated in Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2002, unless made with larger components or with a more rigid wire thread.
The ACCC recommends that suppliers seek their own legal advice in relation to the application of the mandatory standard as to the marketing, presentation and supply of teething necklace products.