Until I became a parent and started hanging out with parents with kids the same age as mine, I had no idea what amber teething necklaces were. I would be pretty shocked when I saw babies and toddlers wearing them because all I saw was a glaring choking hazard or an illogical fashion statement. Later I learned that they are intended to ease teething pain by leeching succinic acid through the baby's skin. I didn't understand why someone would do this. Questioning another parent's actions needs to be handled delicately, and I tried to be as delicate as I could as I sought to learn more. Typically this meant asking a question, then simply nodding politely at the answer.
My question: "Isn't that a choking hazard? And what if they get it caught on something? Isn't that a strangulation hazard?"
The typical answer: "No, each bead is individually knotted, so even if the string breaks, the beads don't all come loose. And you always have to watch your kids anyways, right?."
My internal response: "But one bead can still come loose, right? Isn't that enough to choke on? And none of us ever takes our eyes of our baby for even a second, right?"
My question: "What's succinic acid?"
The typical answer: "It's a naturally occuring analgesic. It's natural, so it's good."
My internal response: "Um, yeah, I can think of other naturally occurring painkillers that I would not give my baby."
My question: "How much succinic acid leeches into their skin? What else is in the beads that might leech through as well? How is their quality regulated?"
The typical answer: "Oh, there's this website you should buy it from. They have a good reputation."
My internal response: "You are someone who questions FDA monitored vaccines, won't feed your kids from plastic containers, and is worried about fluoride in the city's water supply. Yet you are letting your kids wear choking and strangulation hazards that leech unknown and unregulated amounts of unknown and unregulated chemicals into your kid's skin."
I thought I should be more informed about this, rather than silently judging other parents, so I googled amber teething necklace. In the first few pages of results, the majority of results warned against using them. The few hits that supported them were either anecdotal reports from single families or reports of their effectiveness from sites selling them. So after a few of these interactions with other parents, I learned to keep my mouth shut -- just as I imagine other parents keep their mouths shut when they see my fully vaccinated, disposable diapered, sleep trained kid who only eats home made baby food and rarely watches TV.