Numbing Medications Can Be Harmful to Teething Babies

Teething infants can be seriously harmed or even die from certain “gum-numbing” medications, according to a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA states that local anesthetics known as viscous lidocaine and benzocaine-containing teething products should never be used for teething children, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. Viscous lidocaine requires a prescription, and it is typically used to treat mouth ulcers in chemotherapy patients. Parents who have viscous lidocaine on hand should not use it on teething infants. The FDA notes that it received 22 reports of serious incidents thus far in 2014, including deaths, linked to use of viscous lidocaine in babies and toddlers under three and a half years of age. The FDA also advises that over-the-counter benzocaine products, such as Anbesol and Baby Orajel, should not be used for children younger than age two.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, June 201