In April of 2011, the FDA released a statement that warned that benzocaine can cause a potentially life threatening condition known as methemoglobinemia. This condition causes a build-up of methoglobin in the blood, which in turn impairs the blood's ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. This condition can occur within seconds of applying Orajel to your baby's gums, as well as hours after. Signs to look for include pale, bluish skin, lips and nails, shortness of breath, fatigue, rapid heart rate, loss of consciousness and seizures.
As a result of this information, the FDA is recommending that products with benzocaine contain a warning label with information about this condition. They also recommend not using benzocaine products on children on 2 years of age. Therefore, if your baby is teething, perhaps give them a cold teether or one of the other remedies that I recommend previous teething article. If you need to use a product containing benzocaine on your child, use it sparingly and look for signs of methemoglobinemia. As with any medications, be sure to keep all medications containing benzocaine out of reach of children.
Please be safe and do not take this warning lightly. Remember, a good night's sleep is never worth your baby's health, or life.