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Amber Teething Necklace Essay

Infancy is one of the most fragile stages of human life. As infants begin to mature, one of their most common pains is when they begin teething. Teething is when the teeth of the infant start to form and begin to build up pressure as they start breaking through the skin of their gums causing intense pain to babie’s mouths. To sooth this pain, a company called Amber Artisans created a necklace that sooths their mouths as they chew on it. The necklaces are becoming more and more popular in America. However, few people know and understand the hazards of having a necklace around a baby’s neck. This necklace inspired Roni Jacobson to write the article “Amber Teething Necklaces Pose Choking Hazard” for New York Times, an article located in the Health and Science section on its web site.

In the article, Jacobson discusses how people are overlooking the serious concern about this necklace. She provides a photo of Gisele Bündchen, a famous super-model, and includes a link that takes the viewer to a picture of Bündchen and her baby. In the picture, Bündchen’s baby has earrings on and is wearing a Baltic amber necklace. The picture created an uproar on blogs about what age is too young for having a child’s ears pierced, but few, if any, people expressed concerns about the necklace.

Jacobson also shares a link to the ABC News report on the matter. In the report, the correspondents find that the moms they spoke with are split on the earing debate (Jacobson). Jacobson uses this controversy to show the audience is getting distracted from what’s really the issue and that’s the Amber teething necklace that Bündchen’s baby had on. After analyzing her article, I have determined that Jacobson wrote a great argument by successfully using ethos, pathos, and logos.

A strong ethos is important in any argument. First, Jacobson is a professional writer for the New York Times. Then, on Zoominfo website, Jacobson has a profile that states her background information. The profile states that she has published articles on smoking and has researched state Medicaid policies for mental health and addiction programs as an assistant at The Carter Center in Atlanta. Also, the site notes that she is a graduate student in science, health and environment reporting program at NYU (“Business”). Having relevant education and being a graduate from NYU in the health reporting program increases, adds to Jacobson’s ethos.

Another example that adds to her authority is she was an assistant at The Carter Center. The center was founded by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and is a nonprofit, non-government organization. The center is guided by a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering: it seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health (“Carter Center”). Working with the center’s program has given her the experience to know how to prevent and resolve conflicts in health. Therefore, Jacobson knows what she is talking about throughout her article because of her education and past work.

Next, the author uses emotional pathos to appeal to her audience. The audience the author is trying to appeal to is expecting mothers, parents of small children, grandparents and daycare centers. First, the author triggered the audience’s emotions by giving the link to the photo of Bündchen holding her baby on Instagram. When the audience views the picture and sees the baby, they begin to feel happy, warm, and in awe of the cute baby being held by her mom. The audience gets sidetracked by seeing the baby that they never really have any thought about the necklace until they learn the potential hazards it may cause. Then, the author’s use of word choice helps support that the necklace is hazardous. The author describes the hazard by using words like delicate when describing the necklace and significant to describe suffocation.

The word delicate makes readers view the necklace as fragile and easy to break, which increases the risk of a child choking. The word suffocation is used to inform the readers that the necklace may kill the child if it gets caught on something or if a bead breaks off and gets lodged in their throat. Therefore, the author is successful in grabbing the audience’s attention by using Bündchen’s baby picture and the words she used to describe the necklace. In addition, the author appeals to her audience by relating back to their values. The first value the author shows to the audience is trust. She does this by using the viewpoints of pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics on the topic. Both sources are trustworthy and hold value to the audience. A mother is likely to value, listen, and trust a pediatrician or the American Academy of Pediatrics to give them reliable health information on hazardous baby topics as opposed to someone that is unaccredited and is just stating their opinion on the topic.

To further enlighten the audience’s values, the author includes different products to treat the teething pain instead of the necklace. Some of the alternative products from the article that could be used are rubber rings, medicine, and partial frozen fruit (Jacobson). By informing readers of these products can help parents move away from using the Baltic amber necklace. In conclusion, Jacobson’s use of pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics view points and alternative remedies helps to target the audience’s values. Then, the author uses logos or logical reasoning to support her claim that the necklace is a hazard. The author’s first claim was that there is no evidence of the Baltic amber necklace really working (Jacobson). She fails to support this claim with any evidence that it really works. Then, her second claim “the necklace may pose a choking hazard” (Jacobson) is supported by reliable evidence. Jacobson supports her claim by using pediatrician view points on the matter.

The first doctor she uses to support her claim is Dr. Natasha Burgert. Burgert states that “The risk is two-fold — strangulation and choking, and that’s not only for these teething necklaces. In general practice, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend that infants wear any jewelry” (Jacobson). Her statement supports Jacobson’s claim very well because it informs readers that Dr. Burgert and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that the teething necklace may cause harm to a baby. Therefore, Dr. Burgets claim works very well in supporting that the Baltic amber necklace may have a choking hazard. The second doctor Jacobson uses to support her claim is Dr. Claudet, head of the pediatric emergency department at Children’s Hospital in Toulouse, France.

Claudet disagrees with the Baltic amber necklace vendor’s argument that “the necklace is safe because if the necklace breaks only one bead will fall off due to the double thread lock.” Claudet believes that “one bead is enough to choke a child” (Jacobson). This claim supports the choking hazard of the necklace nicely because regardless if one bead falls off or all of them, there is still a choking hazard for the child. Also, she states “because the necklaces are produced and sold by small vendors makes it impossible to guarantee that any of the safety clasps will come apart as intended if the necklace becomes caught on anything, increasing the potential for strangulation” (Jacobson). Her statement helps persuade readers that not all the Baltic necklaces are guaranteed to be safe. Jacobson uses Dr. Claudet again by informing her audience that Claudet and her colleagues did a study to explore why parents continued to put teething necklaces on their children even when some parents were aware of the danger.

The findings showed that parents are willing to do anything to stop their child from being in pain (Jacobson). The study brings concern to both the Doctor and author that parents are not fully aware of safe ways for treating the teething pain the babies are having. To conclude, Dr. Claudets viewpoints and studies went along very well with the claim of the author. Lastly, Jacobson didn’t just use doctoral claims to support her argument, but she also uses Canada’s health department warning and lists countries who do not allow teething necklaces in pharmacies. She states “in 2010, Health Canada, the country’s federal department of public health, determined that the necklaces were enough of an issue to warrant a consumer product safety warning that highlighted the strangulation risk” (Jacobson).

The fact that Canada’s department of public health had to issue a safety warning about the necklace supports that the necklace is not completely safe. Also, she goes on to state “France and Switzerland have banned selling the necklaces in pharmacies” (Jacobson). Having two countries outlaw the selling of the product in pharmacies questions if the necklace is safe or not. In conclusion, the author’s first claim in her article showed no evidence to support the necklace does not work. However, on her second claim “significant suffocation hazard posed by the teething necklaces necklace pose a significant choking hazard” (Jacobson) was supporte

Jacobson, Roni. “Amber 013.
“The Carter Center: Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering.” The Carter Center:Advancing Human Rights and Alleviating Suffering. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013 2013.

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