To soothe your baby’s inflamed gums, Martha Cortes, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist based in New York City, recommends avoiding pain relievers in favor of a teether. But with so many options, it’s hard to know which is best. Here, what you need to know to make a safe, healthy choice in each category:
1. Stainless steel: “Orthodontic tools are usually made of this material, so it’s safe,” says Dr. Cortes. But be careful if your child has a nickel sensitivity, since most stainless steel contains trace amounts of the metal. Our favorite? The Clean Keys Animals teether, which comes in recycled packaging and doesn’t leach nickel ($28, kleynimals.com).
2. Silicone: This soft material is safe, but KIWI’s holistic pediatrician, Lawrence Rosen, M.D., recommends hand washing silicone with warm water and dish soap, as the heat from a dishwasher may cause chemical leaching. Our pick: the Christopher Necklace ($35, chewbeads.com).
3. Wood: When choosing a hardwood teether, pass up any with varnish or stain. We love the Stella the Sparrow Teething Rattle, which is sealed with beeswax ($19, finnandemma.com).
4. Fabric: Choose natural fibers, and wash often since bacteria can breed on fabric. The organic- cotton Owl Patterned Teething Toy is a great choice ($22, applepark.com).
5. Plastic: Select one that’s free of BPA and PVC and has only natural dyes. The Bee Teether is made with cornstarch rubber instead of petroleum-based chemicals ($8, burtsbeesbaby.com).