Teething is a major milestone that every baby goes through. The first few teeth tend to be the most painful. Drooling, crankiness and tears can make teething an ordeal for babies and parents alike. Choosing the right toy can distract a fussy baby and provide relief. Silicone teethers have been the most popular toys for babies to manage pain. You may have the question: are silicone teethers safe for babies? The answer is yes. Silicone teethers are safe for babies, and they can be one of the best toys for teething babies.
Are Silicone Teethers Safe?
Most modern teethers are silicone, but can also be made of wood or plastic. You’ll definitely want to avoid any plastic teethers that contain BPA, PVC, or phthalates. That’s why plastic teethers are out as these potentially harmful chemicals may leach out when babies suck on teethers. Silicone as a human-made elastomer that has the properties of both plastic and rubber, is always mistaken as plastic. So many people wrongly presume that silicone teethers will be harmful to babies. Though silicone does share some characteristics with common plastic, it’s different from plastic, and silicone is much safer than plastic.
What is silicone? is silicone safe?
Silicone also known as siloxanes is a man-made polymer made up of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Silicones are produced in forms including silicone fluids, resins, and liquid or flexible rubber-like solid silicone. The main sources of silicone are natural-origin silica stone (SiO2), water, and natural gas-derived methanol. In short, silicone is a synthetic substance made up of silicon, well, silicon is an element extracted from silica. Silica found in nature as quartz is the most common component of beach sand.
Silicone rubber has been considered SAFE in the United States for applications in consumer cookware and medical products since the FDA approved it in 1979. It is also approved in Canada. The GSC(Global Silicone Council) has conducted dozens of scientific studies showing that silicone materials are safe for human health. Risk evaluations have been conducted by regulatory agencies such as Health Canada, the Australian Departments of Environment and Health, EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, all risk assessments concluded that there is no risk to human health from silicone material when used appropriately.
Silicones have become enormously popular recently and are constantly marketed as safe replacements for traditional plastics. From kitchenware to baby products, silicone is everywhere.
Characteristic Properties of Silicone
Silicone is used for different purposes in different fields because of its useful characteristics. Properties of silicone that make it so unique include:
- Silicone has low chemical reactivity
- Silicone is low toxicity. It is FDA food grade apporved.
- Exceptional weatherability. Silicone has excellent resistance to oxygen, ozone, and ultraviolet(UV) light.
- Silicone withstands high and low temperatures(-60 to 250 °C ) far better than organic rubbers.
- Silicone has excellent moisture and steam resistance. It won’t deteriorate or break down in steam and hot water. So silicone teethers can be sterilized in steam or boiling water.
- Silicone rubber has outstanding resistance to oils, solvents, and other chemicals.
- Silicone has excellent tear strength and tensile strength. Teethers made of silicone are durable for babies to chew on.
FDA and LFGB test report of silicone materials
The silicone products we manufactured all are in FDA-approved silicone materials. For some European customers, they may require LFGB food-grade silicone. Every batch of raw silicone materials delivered to our factory will come with a raw material test report, either FDA, LFGB, or US California Proposition 65. The test was made by a third-party test lab such as SGS.
Post-Curing of Silicone teethers
Compression molding is a cure process for silicone products. The uncured silicone compound will be placed in a pre-heated tool mold. The silicone will be cured and formed in the final shape under high temperature and pressure from a high-temperature vulcanizing system of a compression molding machine.
Silicone products can have the physical parameters and mechanical properties after an “initial” cure, they are already the final products. However, some industries or markets must follow specific regulatory, environmental, and safety requirements which limit the amounts of volatile components that can be found in the cured component. For example, the infant care products, food, and beverage contact applications, and health care parts, to pass the respective testing or meet regulatory requirements, post-curing is often necessary to remove or lower the overall volatile content in the silicone articles.
Post-curing also called “after cure” means that the preliminarily cured silicone products are heated in an oven at a given temperature for a certain amount of time. The time and temperature can vary but the normal is 2 hours at 200°C. After the post-cure, the by-products(volatiles) can be driven off. For some silicone teethers requiring strict tests such as LFGB tests, post-curing is often implemented because it can stabilize the silicone to help standardize the end products.
From raw material control to cure process management, silicone teethers can be produced to meet the regulatory requirement, making sure the silicone teethers are safe for babies.
Different types of teething toys made in silicone
- beads and pendant necklace
- silicone+ wooden ring
- water-filled teether
- silicone teething mitten
- silicone teething mitt
- personalized teether
- long handle silicone brush teethers
- nipple teething toys
- silicone teethers with rattle ball
Benefits of baby silicone teethers
Silicone teethers are a common yet often essential tool that many parents will use to keep their child’s gums from getting sore while they’re teething! They are designed to relieve the pain, as well as fun toys for babies to play with. There are various reasons why your baby can benefit from using silicone teethers besides relieving those sore gums.
Silicone teethers are safe- silicone is a material that contains no BPA, PVC, or phthalates. Silicone teethers are made in non-toxic FDA food-grade silicone. They are safe for babies to chew on.
Silicone teethers are great on sore gums-Putting pressure on a hurting spot is soothing just like we would when we wound ourselves to ease the pain. Silicone teethers are specially made for babies to chew on to help relieve the pain of their teething. Silicone teethers are soft, and they are gentle on the gum, no worry about hurting while your baby biting on it.
Silicone teethers are durable-Silicone is a super durable material and silicone teething toys can withstand lots of chewing and drool!
Silicone teethers help babies learn- Silicone teethers are versatile. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, colors, and sounds, helping your baby to learn different feelings, senses, shapes, and colors. Silicone teethers are light enough for the baby to hold. By grabbing and dropping the teethers, they improve their spatial awareness, sensory awareness, and engagement.
Silicone teethers help babies develop their bodies-Oral motor skills involve the movement of the facial muscles which include the mouth, jaw, tongue, lips, and cheeks. Chewing on the silicone teethers is great for the baby’s jaw.
Silicone teethers are easy to clean and sterilize-Silicone teething toys have good temperature resistance, and they can be sterilized in steam or hot water. Cleaning silicone teething accessories don’t require a lot of effort as they are dishwasher safe.
When to give your baby teething toys and when to stop using silicone teethers?
- Put everything into the mouth
- red and swollen gums
- chew and bite anything they can find
- fussiness and crankness
- excessive drooling
- restlessness and a lot of cries
- loss of and sleeping trouble
- a mild increase in body temperature
When your baby has the above symptoms, we recommend giving them teething toys to relieve the pain of their teething. It is recommended that take away the teether when your baby’s teeth begin erupting into the oral cavity and have broken through the gums. Continued use would only hinder the development of your baby’s teeth.
How to pick a silicone teether?
- Safety should always be a top priority for your baby. Avoid teethers that have choking hazards.
- Look for teethers made of sturdy silicone that’ won’t fall apart after a few uses.
- Choose silicone teethers that are easy for your little one to grab.
- Pay attention to age recommendation, as babies experience different stages of teething at different ages.
- Silicone teethers with visual or audio stimulation will be easier to grab their attention.
- silicone teethers with rich gum-soothing textures will work better to ease the pain in your baby’s inflamed gums.
- Select baby silicone teething toys that are simple to clean and sterilise.
- Cost is one factor you should consider. In general, most teethers are affordable,but some brands can cost much more than others.
- Avoid teething toys contain betteries. The betteries, bettery caps or screw could come loose and cause choking hazards.
Safety tips of using silicone baby teethers
- Baby Safety Comes First. As with any toy or object in your baby’s reach, you should always inspect teethers before use. If you notice any damage, we recommend you dispose of it right away.
- Since teethers are going into your baby’s mouth, it’s important to regularly clean your baby’s teethers as often as possible.
- Always inspect the silicone teethers for cracks or other signs of damage when you clean them. Throw the broken teethers away and replace them with a new one.
- You should never leave your baby unsupervised when they have the teether.
- For silicone teethers with the wooden ring, make sure the wood surface is smooth and doesn’t have any edges that could dig into the gum.
- For beaded silicone teething bracelets and necklaces, ensure the strings and knots are tight and strong.
- Chill the silicone teethers in the refrigerator rather than freezing them. Teethers that are frozen or too cold tend to be too hard for your little one’s gums. They may bruise your baby’s delicate gums.
- Keep a baby bib close by to catch the excess dribble. Baby is drooly when they are teething. Too much saliva can cause skin irritations.
How to clean silicone teething toys?
When you get a new silicone teether that you are sure it is safe for your baby to chew on, remember to clean it thoroughly before giving it to the baby. Silicone is antimicrobial and dishwasher safe. You can wash the silicone teethers with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly, or just toss them into the dishwasher.
Any toy that gets wet (by chewing, for example) is likely to have fungi growing both inside and on it. So it’s a good idea to deep clean and sanitizes the teethers from time to time. Here are common ways to clean and sterilize silicone teething toys.
- Boiling hot water– Just like bottles or nipples you can also boil the silicone teethers. This is an old method that is safe for cleaning and sanitizing your baby’s teether. Silicone has excellent temperature resistance, the teethers will not deform or damage in hot water.
- Sterilize steam bags– Steam spreads quickly to all surfaces of teethers, it can effectively kill 99.99% of bacteria in only a few minutes.
- UV Sterilizers– UV light can also effectively kill the bacteria on the product surface. But it can only kill germs on the surface it can shine directly, and it takes a much longer time.
- White Vinegar and water-mix the white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray on teething toys then clean the toys with a cloth and wipe. Or immerse the teethers in the mixture for a while.
- Baking-Soda and Water-Baking soda and water are generally safe options for sanitizing and cleaning your baby’s teether.
- Dishwasher-Silicone teethers are dishwasher safe. You can just throw the teethers into the top rack of your dishwasher. But remember to double-check the toys to make sure no unwanted soap is left on them.