Most parents want to avoid harsh chemicals, dyes and other additives around their kids. We often watch the ingredients in our children’s food, and some parents have adopted a preservative-free and organic lifestyle for their families. The reality is that we just want our kids to be safe and avoid anything that can cause health issues down the road.
Hidden Health Alert!
While food additives, dyes, and pesticides are often at the top of many parents’ list of concerns, there is one hidden danger that often goes undetected: jewelry. Or, rather, costume jewelry. Many kids love their accessories and baubles. They love necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. But some of these fun pieces of bling may be posing a health risk.
According to a report by CBS News, some popular brands of costume jewelry were found to contain harmful chemicals…and even lead. According to the CDC, jewelry from vending machines also has been found to contain lead, and the CDC notes that jewelry with lead becomes a serious issue when a child puts the item in his/her mouth. One child died when he swallowed a charm that was found to have been 99.1 percent lead.
Children love to add accessories to their outfits, but parents need to be aware of the dangers associated with costume jewelry. While buying expensive fine jewelry for kids isn’t always a practical solution, parents may find other suitable jewelry without breaking the budget.
Here are five safe and fun accessories for kids who want the bling and for parents who don’t want the risk!
1. Leather braided accessories.
You cannot get more natural than leather. Most craft and hobby stores (and big-box retailers) offer leather cords. You can use this to create boho bracelets and necklaces. To add depth, weave in colorful ribbons or fabric.
2. Silver and gold.
Silver is relatively inexpensive, while gold is a bit pricier. But for birthday presents or holiday surprises, these are safe metals for jewelry. When purchasing silver, just make sure to find the stamp of authenticity on the metal. The stamp should say Sterling or 925. Gold should always be marked by karat weight. Do NOT buy gold-plated jewelry, as you never know what metal lies beneath…and some metals may even cause allergies and skin irritation.
3. Carved stones and shells
Carved stones and shells create unique rings and pendants. These are fun choices for kids to wear, and shell rings can be purchased online or near any beach (if you live close). Hang pendants on satin cords for a safe chain alternative. Or invest in a sterling or gold chain. For younger children or for children who often put items in their mouth, skip the stones and shells for pendants…as they pose a choking hazard.
Get ready to DIY. Head to a thrift store and stock up on old colorful fabric scarves (you may even find silk!). Cut these up into narrow strips and use them to make fun and vibrant bracelets. Kids will love the mix and match appeal!
5. Investment pieces.
Beyond simple gold and silver are true investment pieces featuring precious gemstones and diamonds. These stones may be set in gold or even platinum. While fine jewelry does not contain chemicals or hazardous metals, gems may pose a choking hazard…so buy at your discretion. The big caveat, however, is price. For diamond earrings, parents may spend hundreds or thousands. These items are truly an investment and are ideal for major milestone birthdays or holidays.
While many parents are often diligent about the foods they feed their kids, most are not aware of the dangers that hide in costume jewelry. These fun blingy baubles may contain dangerous chemicals and even lead. Parents should focus on natural accessories like leather boho bracelets or DIY necklaces. Gold, silver and diamond jewelry also are safe investments…but pricey. The cheapest and easiest solution for kids that love accessories is to find a way to DIY…just be careful of any tiny gems or stones that may pose a choking risk. And, if you’re concerned about what size is suitable for pendants or other baubles (so they cannot be swallowed), talk to your pediatrician for guidance.