For many parents it is our uppermost priority to ensure a child’s safety and health at all costs. Unfortunately, as our babies and toddlers age we find ourselves navigating a world full of ever increasing safety concerns that sometimes are found in the most unsuspecting places. Recent headlines about moldy sippy cups, bacteria ridden juice pouches, and recalled flour are prime examples of the very real threats not covered in our parenting handbooks. Today, we are going to look at another possible health hazard that we all have in our homes: jewelry.
Potential Jewelry Health Mistakes and Solutions
Whether it is our high cost pieces or fun kid items, the trinkets in our home harbor some surprising health hazards. Listed below is a compilation of 5 possible threats jewelry poses to our babies and toddlers well being and some solutions to keep them safe:
Choking hazards. Many of understand that small pieces of jewelry should not be given to young children, but what about products specifically geared toward the younger set? Children’s jewelry is often composed of small parts and beads that have the potential to break apart. Even if they are created to be “toddler friendly”, chains, clasps, earring backings, or stitches do fail. These pieces can become lodged in a child’s airway or introduce harmful metals into their small bodies.
The solution: Inspect all jewelry and put away delicate pieces until a child is older. For earrings, only purchase the kind that use screw on backs to prevent children from removing them. For added safety, never leave children unattended if they are wearing jewelry and remove all pieces during naptimes.
Swallowing dangerous materials. Besides choking, ingesting foreign materials can be very dangerous. Today, many jewelry items geared toward children contain magnetic clasps to make them easier for little hands to attach or to prevent strangulation. Besides the hidden magnet threat, parents need to sit back and rethink blinking or flashing jewelry. These pieces contain small batteries that have the potential to be ingested. Unfortunately, if a child would happen to swallow magnets or batteries these tiny items can wreak major havoc internally.
The solution: Go through jewelry and toy boxes to remove older items that might not be structurally sound or meet today’s safety criteria. If you encounter jewelry with batteries or metal clasps, check the recommended age guidelines and carefully inspect them before allowing a baby or toddler to play with them. For added safety, search the CPSC web site for a list of recalled items.
Germs. How many times do you wash your wedding ring or disinfect great grandma’s necklace she left you? A majority of us do not regularly clean our jewelry and hidden inside the crevices of our old chains, crusty rings, or swaying pendants are millions of germs multiplying and lying in wait. Small children run the risk of being contaminated when they slobber on our necklace during church or if our wedding ring would accidentally scratch their delicate skin during a diaper change.
The solution: Periodically clean and sterilize jewelry pieces. For added safety, always encourage kids to wash their hands thoroughly after handling or wearing jewelry.
Strangulation threats. Many of us are aware of the possible danger necklaces pose to small children. However, many parents have been embracing teething necklaces and other pieces of jewelry that are supposed to calm babies. Even though these products are made for infants and toddlers, there have been incidents where children become tangled in these necklaces or caught on furniture, which has led to some very close calls. Anything placed around a child’s neck has the potential to cause strangulation.
The solution: Remove all jewelry on children while sleeping and never leave them unattended.
Allergic reactions. Many jewelry pieces are created with blended metals to reduce overall costs. Manufacturers rely heavily on nickel, which is a known allergen for many people with sensitive skin that can flare up rashes and other uncomfortable conditions. This is important to keep in mind when piercing a baby’s ears or buying a first pair of earrings, because manufacturers often mix cheaper metals into high quality pieces.
The solution: Carefully consider any cheap jewelry purchases and ask a lot of questions about the purity of the metal. Also, wait until a child has had their first vaccinations and the doctor has approved piercing a child’s ears.
What tips do you have for keeping babies and toddlers safe around jewelry?