When our babies start teething, it's hard to see them in so much pain, and all the crying can be a bit tiring. As a result, many parents turn to teething gels. But it is important to make sure we are using the products the way they are intended to be used. This mom learned that the hard way when she says her 15-month-old daughter stopped breathing after using Baby Orajel teething gel.
Right before Chloe's bedtime, Danielle Kapetanovic applied some of the product to her daughter's gums, making sure she followed the instructions. "Chloe immediately turned red," she shared in a Facebook post. The baby started kicking and screaming, and 10 seconds later she was unresponsive.
"Her eyes locked in a dead stare, she became limp and stopped breathing. She turned blue," Danielle said. "I grabbed her and put her against my body, hitting her back trying to wake her up, but no response."
After that she gave her daughter CPR while her husband called 911. After 10 or 15 seconds her daughter woke up screaming and crying. The ambulance arrived and the EMTs said Chloe was going to be OK.
"Unfortunately I did not know this in advance, but there are many other parents out there who have experienced the exact same occurrence with their own children when using Baby Orajel," said Danielle. She has now taken it upon herself to inform other parents of the possible secondary effect of this seemingly harmless product.
The FDA has warned parents about this exact hazard. Benzocaine, the active ingredient in Orajel and many other teething gels, can lead to a condition named methemoglobinemia. This means the oxygen carried in the blood is reduced greatly. Chloe was one of many babies under 2 who experienced this condition, which has led to death in several cases. The FDA also notes that babies under the age of 2 are at greater risk of experiencing methemoglobinemia.
In the post, Danielle advised parents to be aware of the misleading way the product is being advertised and classified. Although the product is recommended for children who are 2-years-old or older, the packaging has a picture of a baby. The product can also be found in the baby aisle of stores, and if you do a quick search on Google for "teething gels" it is the first product to come up. She also noted that Target, CVS and Walgreens consider the product as intended for babies who are 4-months-old or older, and Walmart classifies it as a product for infants. "What the manufacturer says directly conflicts with what they do, and I believe actions speak louder than words," Danielle wrote.