At one time or another, many of us have gifted jewelry to our sons and daughters slowly filling their jewelry boxes with sentimental trinkets and baubles. As parents, we often enjoy giving our children gifts for “just because” or to celebrate special occasions. While most of these gifts of affection bring smiles to our children’s faces, these seemingly innocent jewelry pieces might be harboring some shocking and alarming dangers.
When we purchase children’s jewelry, most of us probably assume that these products which are geared toward children are safe and meet today’s safety standards. Unfortunately, within the United States alone, over 180 million pieces of our little one’s favorite bling have been recalled. This is mind-blowing for parents because we want to provide the safest environment possible for our boys and girls. After all, many of us carefully choose what jewelry and products come into our homes, so it is alarming when we find out the materials and substances our kids’ jewelry is made from materials that can be harmful to their health and development.
Risks and Dangers Lurking in Children’s Jewelry
Unbeknownst to us, manufacturers have been using heavy metals to reduce costs and raise profits. There have been cases where companies used lead, antimony, barium, and cadmium to craft jewelry pieces specifically geared toward the children’s market. To put this in perspective, testing from one Wal-mart’s children’s jewelry section uncovered that nearly 25 percent of the pieces had lead rates that were shockingly 300 times over the approved amount. This is heartbreaking because it is well known that exposure to lead or heavy metals can cause serious health conditions and learning delays.
To make matters worse, many manufacturers use cheap metals like nickel to save a few dollars. While this might make children’s jewelry more affordable, nickel is a notorious culprit for causing contact dermatitis and allergic reactions. A good portion of the population negatively reacts to nickel after repeated exposure. Unfortunately, typically after a person develops allergies to nickel, they will continuously be sensitive and will need to avoid skin contact to prevent rashes and breakouts in the future.
If the metal content isn’t cause for concern, we need to consider that a lot of children’s jewelry contains small pieces that rely on magnets or button batteries. While these features make it easier to wear or remove pieces or to light up the darkness with blinking features, these tiny pieces can be deadly if ingested. Button batteries cause serious internal burns and magnets have been known to stick together inside a child’s digestive system, both of which require surgery and can be fatal.
The Essential Checklist to Safe Children’s Jewelry
While it is frightening to realize that we may have given our kids dangerous products, there is hope. With a little awareness and detective work, we can reduce the risks and hazards dangerous children’s jewelry poses to our kids. This process might seem daunting because we can’t simply identify toxic jewelry by just looking at a piece. However, we have created the following checklist to prevent children’s jewelry from harming our sons and daughters and keep them safely smiling:
- Encourage children to wash their hands immediately after handling or wearing jewelry.
- Boycott metal jewelry under $10 hailing from China- this jewelry group often poses the most risk.
- Always remove jewelry from a child before they go to sleep.
- Sift through jewelry boxes and dress up chests for older pieces that were not made to meet today’s safety guidelines.
- Double-check small pieces to see if magnet clasps and button batteries are secure.
- Keep a watchful eye on small children who are wearing jewelry.
- Purchase jewelry only made from reliable, safe, and pure metals.
- Visit the CPSC website for recalled pieces of jewelry.
How do you keep children safe from the hidden dangers in children’s jewelry?
Cassie Brewer lives in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (healthy living of course!). Nothing makes her happier than helping others be the best version of themselves they can be. You can follow her on twitter @Cassiembrewer