Today’s parents take our children’s safety seriously, spending many hours babyproofing and crafting optimal environments for our sweet little ones. Realizing that everything from sippy cups to the toys sitting in our homes actually threaten our kids’ well-being is frightening. Unfortunately, many of us have been completely caught off guard by seemingly innocent products filling our homes, unaware there are jewelry dangers for children in our drawers and their toy chests.
After spending countless hours ensuring our children have a safe environment to grow, coming to the conclusion that we have little control in our child’s safety can be shocking. Afterall, many products geared for our children are potentially ladled with health hazards. Children’s jewelry is especially worrisome, because these items have unlimited contact with our child’s skin and occasionally these items find their way into their mouth.
Surprising Health Threats Lurking Behind Jewelry
Within the last few years there has been more than 180 million pieces of children’s jewelry recalled, because they were loaded with toxic materials. Heavy metals such as lead, barium, cadmium, nickel, and antimony have been found in countless children’s jewelry products at extremely high levels.
To put this in perspective, recent tests from children’s jewelry hailing from Wal-mart discovered that one-quarter of their jewelry products were considered to contain high levels of lead. To be more specific, they found 300 times the recommended levels which turns out pieces were one-third lead. This is disheartening on so many levels, because it is widely known these are sources of development and health issues.
If dangerous metals aren’t enough to warrant a closer look at our kid’s favorite bling, we need to realize that these items often contain tiny batteries, magnetic pieces, and choking hazards. If a child were to ingest these items, this could lead to serious internal injuries and life threatening emergencies.
The Top Ten Ways To Avoid Jewelry Dangers for Children
One good thing to come out of these realizations is that we are beginning to have a much needed conversation about children’s items that could potentially be harboring dangers to our children. Identifying worrisome products without channeling our inner Nancy Drew is almost impossible, so we have listed ten actionable tips to keep our children safe:
- Stop buying jewelry that has magnetic clasps or pieces. While these items are often meant to make the pieces easier to wear for little hands, jewelry does break and the smallest magnets can still pose deadly threats.
- Rethink flashing jewelry with small batteries as souvenirs and party favors. Even though our kids clamor for these blinking colorful delights, the batteries hidden inside are not worth the risk.
- Clear out toy and jewelry boxes for older items that might not meet today’s safety standards. Many of us have picked up second hand items or still have dress up items from our own youth hiding around the house. Items made years ago might not be safe.
- If purchasing costume jewelry or items for children, look for products specifically geared for kids. Sparkles might be in vogue, but many of the products you can find on the Internet or in costume shops might not be meant for younger kids. Please read the age recommendations on all items.
- Encourage frequent hand washes while handling or playing with jewelry. This will prevent possible toxic materials from being rubbed in the eye or ingested if a finger is put in a mouth.
- Only buy jewelry from reliable retailers you trust.
- For very young children, buy pure gold or silver items to prevent allergic reactions. Jewelry is often made with cheaper metals to reduce costs, but this can lead to contact dermatitis resulting in rashes, red bumps, blisters, and pain.
- Check the CPSC website for a list of recalled items. Recalled items are updated regularly to keep us in the know.
- Buy earrings that feature a screw-back. This feature is ideal for young children, because it reduces the chances a child will lose an expensive piece of jewelry and limits the opportunities for the sharp metal objects to become choking hazards. Use these simple screw-back features to secure earrings and make it difficult for little fingers to yank the pieces from their ears.
- Avoid purchasing cheap children’s jewelry. Skip the bargain bin or dollar store purchases, because typically the jewelry hailing from China and falling under the $10 price range are the worst offenders. Just remember, “quality over quantity”.
How do you keep children safe when it comes to jewelry?