It’s been a staple for many families in South Australia but WCH Teething Gel is officially off the shelves for your tot’s teething troubles.
SA Health announced today that the iconic teething gel, which is sold through Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, will be pulled off the shelves due to the active ingredient lidocaine.
The news comes after several confirmed overseas cases of infants overdosing from consuming too much lidocaine.
What went wrong?
Most of us know how hard it can be watching our wee babies writhing in pain due to teething. Naturally, we search the shelves for a safe product that can help them through it. And, for thousands of mums in South Australia, the search had ended with WCH Teething Gel.
But this will no longer be an option. Deputy Director of Pharmacy at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Usha Ritchie, explains that International and Australian medicines organisations now warn against using the local anaesthetic lidocaine in products for infant teething.
Ms. Ritchie said,
“Today, we have released new teething advice which no longer recommends the use of mouth gels for teething infants.
These recommendations take into account a small number of incidents overseas where infants and children have been harmed after consuming too much lidocaine.
As lidocaine is the active ingredient in the WCH Teething Gel, it will no longer be manufactured or available for sale.”
Teething gel linked to Lidocaine overdose
Lidocaine, if swallowed, can lead to choking, seizures, confusion, coma, and even cardiac arrest. If a substantial amount is ingested, it can affect vital organs including the brain and heart.
The label on WCH Teething Gel explains to use the product sparingly, but the risk of overdose is still there, especially if a baby or young child gets a hold of the tube. Although the overdoses occurred in America, Ms. Ritchie confirmed that lidocaine overdose is a concern in South Australia as well.
“We know there have been a number of presentations to the WCH emergency department linked to the consumption of too much lidocaine from teething gel,” Ms Ritchie said. “However no children in South Australia have had any serious adverse effects.”
What should parents do?
If you are using WCH Teething Gel, then SA Health suggests the following:
Families who have used this product as per the directions on the bottle should be reassured that they have not harmed their child, however SA Health no longer recommends this product for teething.”
Although there are other teething gels on the market, they also come with health warnings. Bonjela, for example, contains Salicylic acid, which can be harmful if swallowed.
SA Health suggests, “There are a number of ways to help manage teething pain, including using teething rings and giving your child a clean, cold cloth to bite on.” For additional teething options, have a look at our round-up of the best teethers for sore gums.
The end of a teething gel era
The news comes as a bit of a shock for many families who love WCH teething gel and have used it for many years. After SA Health posted the news on their Facebook page, the comments came pouring in.
One commenter wrote: “Oh wow. I remember using this for my 3 kiddies. It was the BEST teething gel hands down.”
Another said: “Best teething gel around when my boys needed it. Knew it had lidocaine in it & there were concerns, used it sparingly along with the other suggestions. Mind you that was 23 years ago plus. Hopefully something else is out there to help.”
Of course, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our kids’ health.
If any parent is concerned about the medicines they are using they should discuss this with their local Child Health Centre. Alternatively, call 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) from anywhere in Australia for information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamin and mineral) medicines.