Whether you wear jewelry only once in awhile or daily, chances are your child will soon be intrigued by the flashy, colorful pieces they see in your jewelry drawer. The decision to let your kids wear jewelry is tricky because you want to keep them safe from harm – and some jewelry can be risky. Here is what you should know before you let your precious babies wear bling.
Daily Wear Can Be Dangerous
Before you purchase an item of jewelry for yourself, chances are you consider your lifestyle. Well, before you put your trinkets on your children you should also think about their lifestyle – and it’s an active one! Children like to run and play, and this can cause the jewelry they wear to get damaged or – even worse – it can cause them to hurt themselves. A long necklace can fly up into their face while they’re running or they could scratch themselves (or another child) with a bracelet.
If it’s a once-in-a-while occasion for your children to wear jewelry, such as if you’re going to a fancy event and your child is accompanying you, then this makes it safer. This is also because they’ll be on their best behavior. Avoid letting them wear jewelry daily, such as if they’re going to the park or with friends. Even small earrings could catch onto something or tear their earlobes, so be careful.
Choose Safer Pieces
Maybe your children are getting older and are interested in owning jewelry of their own. In such cases, make sure that the pieces of jewelry are safe for them. This includes checking that the item of jewelry doesn’t have any sharp points that can cause scratches. If your children are really small, don’t let them wear pieces that are small or could come undone (such as charms on a necklace) as these are choking hazards.
Although you might be keen to give your children costume jewelry so that they don’t damage anything too expensive, bear in mind that there are allergy risks as well as toxic reactions associated with this. Follow these rules:
- Don’t let your children wear anything with lead as it can have serious health effects, such as increased blood pressure, organ damage and nervous system problems. A study found that inexpensive jewelry is often full of lead, while even jewelry pieces that are labelled as being sterling silver can contain this dangerous metal. The fact that really small children tend to put everything in their mouths makes it even more important to keep them away from jewelry that has toxins in them which accumulate in the body.
- Avoid items containing cadmium. This is often used as an alternative to lead but it can be just as dangerous. Cadmium is a heavy metal and studies have found that children who have higher levels of it in their bodies have three times greater chance of experiencing learning disabilities. Again, cadmium has been found in inexpensive jewelry.
- Avoid items made of brass, copper or nickel as these are associated with allergies such as irritation on the skin.
- Your best bet is to stick to surgical stainless steel, gold or titanium. Avoid silver- or gold- plated jewelry as these could contain other metals underneath them and which could also be bad for sensitive skin. This is also the rule when having your baby’s ears pierced. Bear in mind, however, that infections from infant piercings are common, and can include puffiness, redness, as well as pus, so it’s worth waiting for them to get older.
When kids start asking if they can wear your jewelry, start introducing them to jewelry. Avoid letting really small babies wear jewelry, however, as this can be more hazardous, especially since they’re small and their skin is more sensitive. When children are older, teach them about being careful with their jewelry and be sure you’ve chosen pieces that are safe for them according to the above tips.
Naomi Shaw lives in Southern California with her husband and three kids. She is a free-lance journalist and stay at home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and parenting.