Is It Safe For Children To Wear Jewellery?
As any dad of a little girl will know, our young princesses love to play dress-up and play with their with mom’s jewellery, and when we take them shopping the shining trinkets in the department store display cases are magical attractions for them!
What dad doesn’t want to make his daughter’s dream come true? Especially when you have had a holiday in Disneyland. A holiday like that might well inspire your girl to want to wear the best Disney inspired jewellery so that she looks like Moana or Pocohantas or even Cruella De Ville, and her infectious enthusiasm will melt your heart, for sure.
But is also important to consider what is a safe and appropriate age for your little one to start wearing jewellery more regularly, so here is some advice and steps to take to make sure that your child not only has fun but also wears her jewellery safely.
At what age is it appropriate for a little girl to wear jewellery?
The jury is out on this often vexed questions, where many parents may disagree, but in general terms, much depends on
- the age of your child
- their maturity
- the quality and type of jewellery that you buy
- the occasions on which you allow them to wear it
For example, parents in many different cultures pierce their babies’ ears for earrings as young as a few days old, such as in Spain and Latin America. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says “…if the piercing is performed carefully and cared for conscientiously, there is little risk, no matter what the age of the child. However, the AAP also found that there can be complications such as allergy and infection, and so it recommends waiting until a child is old enough to take care of the piercing herself.
What to look for and avoid when buying jewellery for your family
One of the biggest problems of which parents are unaware, is that safety tests have found a high proportion of children’s jewellery containing toxic materials, including lead, cadmium, barium and more at very high levels, the absorption of which through the skin can lead to decreased IQ levels, increased ADHD and increased hearing impairment as blood lead levels increase.
The Washington Toxics Coalition tested a selection of jewellery from Walmart, and found that eight out almost 25 percent of Walmart jewelry tested contained levels of lead ranging from 7,748 ppm (parts per million) to 357,790 ppm—basically the items were more than 33% made of lead. That is 300 times the federal limit of 100 ppm for children’s products. Also many items of children’s jewellery have small batteries, magnets and small pieces that can break and become a life-threatening hazard.
How to make sure your children wear jewellery safely
Only buy jewellery that has clear disclosure of ingredients and are marked “safe for children”. If you don’t know what it contains, do not buy it
Teach your children to wash their hands frequently when plying with jewellery, and that they should not touch their faces, suck, chew or bite their jewellery
Make your own jewelry from gold, silver and beads and use that as a teaching opportunity for your children to learn about making safe choices in their jewellery
Never buy jewelry with small batteries and flashing lights – they may look fun, but they are hazardous for young children
Avoid buying jewelry with magnetic clasps for young children – they can break easily and become a choking hazard
Stick to buying silver or gold jewellery for young children to avoid allergy risk – if you buy earrings, always get the ones with a screw-back features, to reduce the chance that they will come off and become a choking hazard
Periodically go through old jewellery or toy boxes and purge items that may have been purchased years ago before safety standards became more stringent
Stay in the know – check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for any health and safety product recalls, which is updated frequently
Jewellery s something that is hard to avoid, almost all little girls want to handle and play with it from time to time with increasing enthusiasm. Some parents like the idea of their little girl wearing simple earring and a necklace, other may prefer their children to wait until their early teens.
Whatever your views, what is important is that that the jewellery that you choose for your little girl is age-appropriate, safe, and of the best quality you can afford. If you make sure that you educate your child about safe practice in handling, playing with, and wearing jewellery, your little girl will surely be made to feel like your very own Cinderella Princess!
Jim Mckenzie is the founder of www.everythingfordads.com and creator of The Fatherhood Biz Head To Toe Dads Wellness Program