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Homeopathic Teething Tablets May Cause Child Deaths; Could Lawsuits Follow?

Parents with teething babies have sought a myriad of remedies to soothe their children's pain and discomfort (and their own ears as well, no doubt). One remedy which many found effective was the use of dissolving homeopathic tablets and gels that claimed to ease pain and reduce irritability associated with teething.

But last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that the tablets and gels could pose a health risk to children and recommended that parents stop using them. As many as 10 deaths had been linked to homeopathic teething tablets, so could lawsuits follow?

Homeopathies at Home

The FDA first issued a safety alert about homeopathic teething tablets and gels back in 2010, noting they can cause seizures in infants and children. Parents were warned to be on the lookout for "difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation" in children after using the products.

Hyland's, one of the major manufacturers of homeopathic teething tablets and gel, was quick to point out that, despite the FDA's investigation, there was no recall issued, and continues to maintain "[t]here is NO scientific link between homeopathically-prepared belladonna, or Hyland's Baby Teething Tablets, and seizures." Instead, the company acknowledges that "certain allergies may exist" and recommends that parents closely monitor their children when introducing new medicines.

Legal Bite

Teething tablet and gel manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe. They therefore may be strictly liable if a child is injured or killed by their product. There are three main types of product liability claims:

  • Defect in Design: The teething tablet's design is flawed, rendering it unreasonably dangerous to children;
  • Defect in Manufacturing: The tablet or gel is improperly manufactured, in a way that dangerously departs from its intended design; or
  • Defect in Warnings: The homeopathic remedy lacks adequate instructions or warnings, without which the product is not reasonably safe.

Homeopathic tablets or gels might have been improperly designed, poorly manufactured, or lack proper warnings, leading teething children to have adverse or even deadly reactions. If this happened, the manufacturer might be liable for such injuries and damages.

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