Teething can cause babies a great deal of pain and discomfort. In the first couple of years of life, it can seem like babies and toddlers are always getting a new tooth, making life challenging for themselves and their parents. Teething rings are a common tool for providing relief. Parents often freeze teething rings so that the cool surface will soothe their baby's gums, but not all teething rings are safe to freeze.
Many teething rings are filled with water or gel. When these rings are frozen, the frozen liquid helps keep the ring cool longer. However, the frozen liquid can also expand and cause the ring to crack. When that happens, the liquid can melt and leak into your baby's mouth. Teething rings with gels or non-sterile water should not be frozen since these liquids could contain contaminants that could be harmful for your baby if swallowed. Only freeze rings that expressly contain sterilized water. If the ring cracks, discard it, as contaminants can be introduced to the water after that seal is broken. Solid teething rings with no liquid at all are the best options.
Silicone or Latex
Plastic teething rings may contain a number of toxic materials, including lead or BPA. Silicone and latex teething rings are considered safer alternatives, and they provide a softer surface for baby's tender gums. Silicone and latex teething rings that are filled with fluid are less prone to cracking and breaking if they are frozen. Many silicone and latex teething rings also have ridges and bumps that provide a textured surface that feels good on baby's gums.
Plastic teething rings can have sharp edges that can hurt baby's gums. Freezing these rings can make them more harsh on tender gums, especially if any condensation forms on the outside and freezes. Rings that are left in the freezer for a long time and begin to form ice crystals on the outside can be too cold for baby and potentially cause frostbite or other damage to baby's gums. If you do freeze teething rings, it's better to leave them in only as long as needed to get cold.
Alternatives to Frozen Teething Rings
Many natural alternatives for frozen teething rings are available. Offer your baby a piece of frozen fruit inside a mesh bag, wet a washcloth or other soft cloth and put it in the freezer or give your tot a piece of frozen bagel to gum. Teething rings can be placed in the refrigerator to be cooled for the soothing benefits without any of the risks of freezing, like gum damage or cracking of the ring. Other textured items can also offer some relief, such as a clean washcloth, a wooden or crocheted teething necklace or a clean textured toy.