Mum's scary warning: 'My baby was 'minutes from dying' after TOO MUCH teething gel.'

Jessica Vermunt gave baby Athena too much Bonjela but didn't realise it could poison her 7-month-old child, now she's warned other parents

Editor / May 01 2019

A mum says her baby was "minutes from dying" after she gave her too much teething gel.

Athena Vermunt-Sergent, who is 7-months-old, was flown to Auckland's Starship Hospital on Saturday after her mum, Jessica Vermunt, tried to soothe her sore gums with Bonjela, a gel used to help teething infants. 

'I am currently in Starship Hospital with my seven-month-old baby who was literally minutes from dying after having too much Bonjela,' Jessica wrote in a parenting group on Facebook. 

'The active ingredient in Bonjela will turn your babies blood ACIDIC and cause complete renal failure.'

 Jessica had been in pain from her teeth coming through, explained her mum.

 

 

"She kept screaming at us. Over a period of a few days I slowly gave her a bit more."

After four days of this, Athena had some breathing difficulties, but she also had a respiratory virus so Jessica took her to the family's doctor.

Four hours later Athena stopped breathing and she was rushed to hospital where she was sedated and put onto a breathing machine while doctors performed blood infusions and transfusions.

'They diagnosed her with salicylate overdose. Salicylate is the active ingredient in Bonjela,' Jessica told nzherald.co.nz.

Jessica admits she used 'more than normal' of the gel but said the point was to warn other parents of the potential dangers of the gel.

'I'm aware that she had more than normal but the point remains that this has the potential to kill your child and there is no real information or warnings about the severity of it,' Jessica said. 

'The doctor was aware of the amount of Bonjela she was having and didn't think it was of concern at all,' she added.

 

Getty/stock image

Getty/stock image

 

Jessica linked the incident to case in the UK where in 2009 a total ban of the product was issued for anyone under the age of 16. 

She said the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) banned Bonjela from the shelves until the active ingredient choline salicylate was removed. 

They based their decision on a case report published in the British Medical Journal in June 2008.

They found a 20-month-old child had a suspected case of Reye's syndrome following the use of Bonjela.

Bonjela manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser released this statement following the incident.

'We have been made aware of an incident relating to Bonjela and are currently trying to contact the consumer directly to understand what exactly has happened.

Meanwhile, we are sending our best wishes to the infant for a quick recovery. The health and safety of our consumers is a top priority for us.

We take the health and safety of our customers very seriously. All Bonjela products in Australia and New Zealand are thoroughly reviewed and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the regulatory body for therapeutic goods in Australia and the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) for safety and efficacy.

As with all medicines, parents should use oral teething and mouth ulcer gels only according to the directions on the packaging and should speak to a healthcare professional if they have any concerns.'

 

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Frances Sheen has been a magazine and website journalist & editor for the last 20 years - both in Australia and the UK. She's appeared on countless TV and radio shows to discuss parenting and launched her own social media parenting brand. She's the mum of two little girls and juggles that with a busy working life.

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