Thursday, May 11, 2017

Smart Safety: Health Alert - Jewelry Safety Tips for Children

A girl’s childhood is almost always marked with a moment when pierced ears become a priority. Some kids begin to notice sparkly studs in their friends’ ears as young as kindergarten. Others notice, but don’t feel the pull for the piercing until much later. But, at some point, many girls will beg for their ears to be bedazzled with a piercing.

While ear piercing comes with many responsibilities, those two tiny holes also usher in another milestone in girlhood: the rush for accessories! Pierced ears require earrings, and, parents, that collection will grow quicker than you think. And those new studs and tiny hoops will give way to matching necklaces, maybe a few bracelets and a ring or two.

Your once accessory-free daughter will soon have an admirable collection filled with all sorts of jewelry. However, not all those accessories will be the fashion statement she hopes, and some might even be downright dangerous.

Allergic Woes

Some individuals are sensitive to certain metals. And nickel is a common metal that causes irritating reactions in many wearers. If you notice her earrings are making her piercing site itch or become weepy, she might have a metal allergy. Select surgical steel posts, which often don’t cause reactions in those sensitive to other metals.

Costume Jewelry Concerns

Those inexpensive costume earrings might be hazardous to her health. According to a story by CBS, some costume jewelry from popular retailers tested positive for lead and other “hazardous chemicals.” When buying jewelry for kids, opt for sterling silver or gold. Yes, it may be a bit more expensive…but it’s also safer.

Choking Hazards

Some parents pierce their child’s ears at birth or in infancy. Tiny earrings can be a choking hazard. Be sure that all earrings for toddlers and babies have screw on backs that they cannot pull off. And be safe when making other jewelry choices. A ring that looks like a gumball shouldn’t be given to toddlers who might put the accessory in their mouth. According to The Kid’s Doctor, Sue Hubbard, M.D., necklaces also are a choking hazard. Regarding necklaces, Hubbard advises parents to “let your child wear one of these when they can spell the word, or put one on when your 3-year-old plays dress up, but take it off once the play session is over.”

Avoid Infections

Pierced ears also can be at risk for infection. Make sure to keep piercing sites cleaned regularly. Use witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to keep the site free from becoming a bacteria breeding ground. If a child swaps out earrings, make sure they (or you) clean the earrings before storing them. Always wipe off the backs of earrings to remove any residue or build-up.

Appropriate Accessories

Some schools have guidelines for accessories. However, most elementary-age children have recess each day, and some accessories might be at risk for catching on playground equipment and injuring the child. Don’t let kids go to school wearing dangling earrings or long necklaces. Opt for diminutive accessories like stud earrings to keep them from catching on clothes, play equipment…and other kids!

Accessories are almost a rite of passage for many girls. As they get older, earrings and pierced ears become more popular. When accessories begin to take root in a child’s wardrobe, make sure to teach them how to care for accessories…and any piercing sites. Avoid costume jewelry and buy sterling silver or other natural metals when possible. Parents should help kids make good choices in accessories and be on the lookout for any irritation that metals or chemicals in those metals might cause

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