Mom’s Warning about Teething Medicine Goes Viral: Here’s What You Need to Know

Mom's Warning about Teething Medicine Goes Viral: Here's What You Need to Know
Written by Leslie Means

Danielle Kapetanovic, mother of 15-month-old Chloe, posted a message on Facebook to warn parents after her daughter had a dangerous reaction to a popular teething gel. Read her words below. 

I don’t like to put personal information related to my kids out there, but I feel compelled to warn other parents about the risk of using Baby Orajel.

Chloe is 15 months and teething. Someone I know recommended trying Baby Orajel on her gums to alleviate some of her discomfort. I bought the nighttime version as seen in the picture and right before her bedtime decided to apply it. The directions say apply a “pea size” – I put less than a pea size on my finger and applied it to her gums. Chloe immediately turned red, started kicking, got one or two screams in, and 10-15 seconds after the Orajel touched her gums she became unresponsive. Her eyes locked in a dead stare, she became limp and stopped breathing. She turned blue. I grabbed her and put her against my body, hitting her back trying to wake her up, but no response. I ran her down the hall to my bed and lied her down and began breathing into her mouth as Mike called 911. Thankfully she woke up and started screaming and crying after maybe 15-20 seconds in total, which felt like an eternity. The ambulance arrived and EMT’s checked her out and determined she was okay.

Unfortunately I did not know this in advance, but there are many other parents out there who have experienced the exact same occurrence with their own children when using Baby Orajel. I found online posts dating back to 2008 from parents with literally the same experience – their baby became unresponsive in seconds, went limp, turned blue, became responsive again after 15 seconds or so – it was like someone wrote my same experience. What’s more, I learned the FDA warns against giving babies Benzocaine – the active ingredient in Baby Orajel. The use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. Children under 2 years of age are of particular risk, with almost 80% of reported benzocaine gel related cases of methemoglobinemia having occurred in children under 2.

Chloe has since been checked out by her pediatrician and they think she will be just fine. Unfortunately her Doctors can’t definitively say if what happened to Chloe was a reaction to the benzocaine in the Baby Orajel vs a “breath holding spell,” or something else.

Please, do not give your children Baby Orajel. The potential temporary relief it may provide your baby from teething is simply not worth the risk. This product is incredibly misleading (look at the age of the child on the box) and should be properly labeled with a large warning or simply removed from the shelves and not advertised for babies. Please don’t put your kids at risk. Please share this post with your friends, especially those with teething babies, so nobody else makes the same mistake.

Orajel reminds parents to “ask your doctor” before use. For a full list of warning signs, you can visit their website.

About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017!

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.