How to Safely Use Ice Cubes With Teething Babies

By Jennifer King
Teething usually occurs between the ages of 6 and 24 months.
Teething usually occurs between the ages of 6 and 24 months.

When a little one shows signs of discomfort due to teething, it is natural to want to make him feel better. While grabbing an ice cube may seem like a good idea, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that placing an object that is too cold in a baby’s mouth can harm his gums, even causing frostbite. Using an ice cube can also lead to popsicle panniculitis, which causes inflammation and redness in cheeks of young children. Although medical professionals agree that popsicle panniculitis is harmless, the associated inflammation and redness can last several weeks.

Alternatives to Ice Cubes

Instead of offering a teething baby ice, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends gum massage. Using your clean finger to apply pressure to a sore gum for up to two minutes per massage session can reduce the baby's pain. Teething rings and wet cloths chilled in the refrigerator can also provide relief to teething babies. Another option is a mesh feeder, which can be filled with soft, chilled foods such as sliced fruit. The cold food soothes your little one's gums and satisfies her urge to chew.

Safety First

Always supervise your baby while she is using a teething ring, cloth or mesh feeder, as these items can pose a choking hazard. Fill mesh feeders with foods you have previously given your little one to avoid the possibility of an allergic food reaction. Additionally, if your baby seems to be in extreme discomfort, has diarrhea or a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, seek medical care. Attributing these symptoms to teething can result in delayed treatment for an unrelated illness.

About the Author

Jennifer King has written and edited since 1994, and now works as a business technical writer. Her articles appear on GardenGuides, eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM. King has a Bachelor of Arts in English, a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, coursework in yoga and certifications in nutrition and childhood development.