A New Zealand mum is warning other parents about the dangers of a popular teething gel after her baby was hospitalised…

A New Zealand mum has called for restrictions on Bonjela teething gel after her baby daughter was hospitalised following an overdose. Posting her story in a parenting group on Facebook, the mum said that her daughter had been in pain over a number of days, and had been given a significant amount of Bonjela as a result, with life-threatening consequences.

Like many parents, the mum said that she had no idea that the gel could be dangerous in large quantities. “She kept screaming at us,” she wrote on Facebook. “Over a period of a few days, I slowly gave her a bit more.” After just a few hours, the little girl was “not breathing or responding to anything” and had to be rushed to the hospital for blood infusions and to be placed on a breathing machine. “They diagnosed her with salicylate overdose. Salicylate is the active ingredient in Bonjela.”

The mum admits that she knew she had given her daughter more than the recommended amount of the gel, but had kept her doctor in the loop and he didn’t seem concerned. “The doctor was aware of the amount of Bonjela she was having and didn’t think it was of concern at all,” she said. “Even the doctors hadn’t been informed of how dangerous this product is.”

Call For Labelling Change

The active ingredient in Bonjela is choline salicylate, which can turn a baby’s blood acidic resulting in kidney failure. After the traumatic experience with her daughter, the mum is calling for changes to product labelling and dosage instructions. “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,” she said.

Health authorities recommend that parents try other forms of pain relief, such as Panadol or Nurofen if their child is in severe pain as a result of teething, rather than prolonged using of teething gels.

A spokesperson for Bonjela in Australia has said:

We are aware of an incident relating to Bonjela in New Zealand and are in contact with the consumer directly. We are pleased to understand that the infant is recovering well. 

The health and safety of our consumers is a top priority for us.

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. We welcome our consumers and healthcare professionals to contact us if they have questions.”

We just hope that this little girl makes a speedy recovery and that her story makes other parents aware of that teething gel is a medicine and the recommended dosage needs to be adhered to.

Has your child experienced a reaction to teething gels? Share your story in the comments.



  • It is a safe substance provided you follow instructions – doctors often aren’t fully listening when things like this come up especially if the mum is a bit hypo about her baby.


  • That is very scary. We mostly used ice blocks & carrot sticks when the little ones were teething.


  • I can’t remember exactly but I’m sure it has instructions. It goes without saying to always follow recommended dosage and if unsure check with your doctor or pharmacist.


  • No, we used Bonjela but followed the instructions. If I remember correctly, it listed how often you should use it. I used to check everything with my baby. But, Panadol also is a miracle cure too.


  • Oh gosh this is terrible.


  • If it wasn’t working would you try something else like Panadol


  • Wow I didn’t know that about the gel but if it wasn’t working, I would have also tried something else or checked with a childcare nurse / GP. I hope the baby is ok!


  • Sorry for that baby. But how could you go past the recommendations? of course that’s dangerous. I know she was stressed but clearly the bonjela wasn’t doing the job, try something else


  • How terrible. It’s always so important to read the pamphlet before using.


  • I do feel horrible for the child but the parents really needed to take more care in following the advice on the label.


  • I hope the baby makes a complete recovery and is back home soon with her family with no lasting side effects. I know she overdosed her child on the Bonjela, she kept in contact with her doctor. There’s really no-one to blame here


  • There are reasons for instructions on packaging. We used Bonjela for both kids without any issues.


  • This is why you follow the instructions and recommend dose.


  • If the mother was not following the instructions then bonjela should not have to be responsible for what happened.


  • I guess some people take for granted Bonjella is such a well known brand and is just ‘teething gel’ and assume it doesn’t cause harm. But it says very clearly on the box and tube itself how much to use, not to use more & to see a GP if not resolving. This mum said she mentioned it to her GP, so I’d be cautious of that GP if indeed they did know how much she was using. Any dr should know a larger than normal dose of anything can cause harm.
    Just because u buy it in a chemist or supermarket doesn’t mean it’s not harmful – anything in a larger than recommended dose can be harmful. Need to be especially careful with babies and toddlers.
    Hope this bub continues to recover & a valuable lesson for all. Especially as the story is being told & more parents will now hopefully be aware.


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