A love of accessories often begins at a young age…with plastic necklaces, rhinestone tiaras and mom’s old costume jewelry. Soon, though, those introductory pieces lead to kids wanting their own bedazzled treasures. As pierced ears usher in collections of new earrings, other accessories soon follow as fashion fads lead the need for chokers, bangle bracelets and tiny toe rings.
Unfortunately, while those cute and on-trend accessories might make a style statement, they also could pose health risks for kids. Parents who are popping into mall stores for accessories might be investing in metals that cause reactions in sensitive skin or that contain harmful chemicals.
Parents don’t need to spend thousands on a jewelry box stocked with gold and platinum, but they do need to be aware of the possible perils of cheaper metal accessories. The adage “you get what you pay for” exists for a reason. Although jewelry for kids doesn’t have to be an expensive investment, parents need to know how to shop for the accessories that won’t irritate sensitive skin or cause other issues.
If your child is begging for the latest accessories, keep these helpful tips in mind before stocking up on the latest jewelry trends:
1. Choose surgical steel or silver earrings.
Young ears can be sensitive, and newly-pierced ears might become easily irritated. If your child wants a bigger collection of earrings, make sure to look for posts that feature surgical steel or silver. Purer forms of gold and platinum also are less likely to cause a reaction…but they can be more expensive.
2. Avoid Nickel-based metals.
Nickel is a common skin irritant…especially when it’s used in earrings. You might not always know if earring posts or other jewelry contain nickel. However, if your child suddenly develops an irritation where jewelry was worn, nickel (or another metal) might just be the culprit!
3. Keep jewelry clean.
Earrings easily can accrue gunk from piercing holes and debris, which can cause infections. Make sure kids clean their earrings at night with either Witch Hazel, rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Earring backs also should be cleaned and disinfected, and keep piercing holes clean. Never let kids sleep in their earrings!
4. Beware cheap jewelry.
According to a story from CBS, some costume jewelry was found to contain toxic metals like lead and chromium. The jewelry also contained hazardous chemicals. When buying fun metal bangle bracelets, necklaces or other metal-based costume jewelry, be cautious. If the budget allows, opt for sterling silver items.
5. Stick with stud earrings for younger kids.
Dangly hoops and longer earrings can get caught on clothes when kids are playing. For younger children, stick with stud earrings. You can find many fun and unique designs for studs…they aren’t simply limited to balls or tiny gemstones. For parents that are looking to invest in small gemstone or diamond studs, select smaller carat weights for tiny ears.
6. Screw-on earring backs are best!
Earring backs that can be pulled off easily are not appropriate for kids. These earring backs can quickly become a choking hazard, or they can be the cause of many lost earrings. Instead, choose screw on earring backs, which are not easy for kids to manipulate.
While kids will want to stock up on the latest accessories to make their own unique fashion statements, make sure you shop smart! Choose earrings and other jewelry that is nickel-free. Beware super cheap jewelry, and, when in doubt, opt for pure metals like silver, gold, palladium or platinum. Jewelry is stylish and great ways to express personality, but parents need to be diligent before making a purchase.