It’s no secret that we want the best for our kids and strive to provide the best possible environment that we can. Within the past few years, parents around the world have been greeted with horror stories about moldy sippy cups, sludge filled juice pouches, and toys filled with lead. This finds many of us questioning the safety of the products we are allowing our children to access. Like those listed above, there is another hidden hazard many of us may have overlooked: jewelry.
Jewelry And Toxic Metals: A Dangerous Combination
When we consider jewelry dangers, the first things that come to mind are strangulation or choking threats. However, looks can be deceiving when it comes to jewelry and safety. Not very many of us have contemplated the materials and metals that are used to manufacture our favorite baubles and trinkets. Surprisingly, a large number of jewelry contains toxic heavy metals that pose serious health and development threats to our sons and daughters.
Unknown to many, today’s jewelry is often mixed with cheaper heavy metals. Filler metals frequently identified in jewelry pieces consists of lead, barium, antimony, nickel, and cadmium. To help put this into perspective, recent testing of children’s jewelry products from Wal-mart unearthed that almost 25 percent of the tested materials had more than 300 times the recommended amount of lead! To drive home this point, consider that recently over 180 million pieces of jewelry intended for our smallest family members has been recalled due to toxic metals.
While manufacturers use these metals to reduce costs, we need to consider the potential health cost and impact on our children. Besides allergic reactions and contact dermatitis, heavy metals are known to affect a child’s learning and health. In fact, most doctors routinely check young children’s lead levels to prevent any negative health effects and to catch the problem early before years of exposure can build up, creating the following problems
- Developmental delays
- Learning difficulties or impaired cognitive functions
- Fatigue and weight loss
- Loss of hearing
- Abdominal pains, constipation, and sickness
8 Do’s And Don’ts To Keep Your Child Safe
It doesn’t matter if it’s in the paint or metals used on our child’s jewelry, these items do pose serious health threats if a child would happen to suck on the pieces or accidentally swallow a metal charm. Unknowingly, we may have been allowing our kids direct contact with harmful substances, because jewelry doesn’t look menacing and it’s practically impossible to tell which ones are composed of toxic metals.
Kids tend to wear these items over long periods of a time, often stacking or wearing multiple pieces, which relates to high levels of contact with our sons’ and daughters’ largest organ: their skin. Listed below are eight ways we can keep our children safe from hidden jewelry hazards:
- DO encourage kids to wash their hands frequently after handling or wearing jewelry.
- DON’T purchase cheap metal jewelry hailing from China that costs less than $10- these pieces are typically the worst offenders for toxic metals.
- DO watch children while wearing jewelery and never leave them unattended. Especially, be aware of children chewing or sucking on the jewelry.
- DO check that earring posts are 14K or 18K gold or pure silver to prevent allergic reactions or contact with dangerous metals. Many jewelry manufacturers may use cheaper metals in the posts, even though the gems and outward metals are high quality.
- DON’T keep old jewelry pieces that might not follow today’s safety criteria.
- DO realize that costume jewelry intended for adults might also be made of similar toxic metals.
- DO buy jewelry from trusted retailers.
- DON’T forget to regularly check the CPSC web site for a list of recalled items.
Raising children today can be scary, because so many of our household items can turn out to be dangerous. Thankfully, with a little awareness and knowledge we can reduce the hidden hazards lurking in our homes.
What tips does your family have to share to help keep our children safe from toxic jewelry?