Whether it’s a tearfully passed-down family heirloom or a piece of plastic from a vending machine, there comes a time in many babies’ lives when they just want to wear something shiny. Baby still depends on the adults in his life to act as gatekeepers when the things he wants have the potential to be dangerous, though.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against jewelry for babies, especially babies under a year old, and recommends waiting to pierce children’s ears until they’re old enough to take care of the piercings themselves as they heal. However, another school of thought says that parents of babies are more likely to follow instructions for post-piercing care to the letter and prevent infections than slightly older children excited about wearing earrings, and necklaces on babies and young children are a part of many different cultural traditions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation against jewelry is mostly concerned with safety, and the main safety concerns associated with jewelry are the dangers of strangulation or suffocation from necklaces, the risk of choking if babies can swallow small parts, like beads, or small bracelets, and the risk of infection or being pulled out, in the case of earrings.
In an article about amber teething necklaces, the AAP states that while they recommend against using amber teething jewelry entirely, if parents do choose to use it, it’s safest to use bracelets or anklets, instead of necklaces. Babies should never sleep with anything around their necks, and for families that do choose to pierce their babies’ ears at an early age, studs are safest, since earrings that dangle can be pulled on or can catch on things.
Another concern around children’s jewelry is materials – the Center for Disease Control bans lead and cadmium as materials for children’s jewelry, but warns parents that it’s very difficult to know what types of metal go into a given piece of jewelry, and suggest that metal jewelry not be given to young children who will suck on chew on it.
- “Avoiding Infection After Ear Piercing.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
- “Amber Teething Necklaces: A Caution For Parents.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
- “Guide for Parents: The Dangers of Heavy Metals in Children’s Jewelry.” On Safety. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision, January 2012. Web.
- Sue Hubbard. “Baby bling can be a choking hazard.” Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune, October 22 2013. Web.
- Roni Jacobson. “Amber Teething Necklaces Pose Choking Hazard.” New York Times. New York Times, October 11 2013. Web.
- Vrinda Kumar. “Amber Teething Necklaces: Risks Versus Benefits.” Rush-Copley. Rush-Copley Medical Center, October 20 2015. Web.