It is not uncommon to see newborn babies adorned with all kinds of jewelry soon after they are born. Especially in India, babies are gifted and adorned with gold jewelry as part of religious affiliations. Whether it is necklace, earrings, anklets or bracelets, babies are made to wear these ornaments both for cultural and aesthetic purposes. People of certain communities believe that wearing these kinds of jewelry can also bring good luck and contain magical properties.
While we love and respect all sorts of customs and traditions followed by people from different regions and religions, we must consider the fact if such traditions can do more harm than good to your baby.
The Potential Risk Factors Linked With Baby Jewelry
It is completely normal to make your child wear some kind of jewelry as part of a custom or simply because you want your baby to shine bright like a diamond. But what if you knew it came with some safety concerns? Definitely something to think about, right? Here we discuss the various safety concerns that are associated with baby jewelry:
1. The Risk Of Strangulation
Necklaces can easily strangle a baby in their sleep. They could also be at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) where babies who are less than a year old are known to die in their sleep. To avoid the risk of SIDS, it is generally recommended to keep their bedding as bare as possible (1). So, even if you choose to put bracelets or necklaces on your baby while they are awake, it is best to never let them sleep with it.
2. The Risk Of Choking
You must be aware that babies love putting stuff in their mouths. And being quite curious about the things around them, they would love to get their hands on anything and everything. Even though some manufacturers claim that their jewelry cannot be broken, there is no guarantee. Necklaces and bracelets can easily break apart, and the tiny beads and gems can pose a choking hazard to the babies. In the same way, even earrings can be easily removed by babies and toddlers. It’s hard to keep an eye on them all the time. So why put them at such risks which can be easily avoided?
3. Lead Poisoning In Babies
Lead poisoning can occur when there is a build-up of lead in the body. It has been found that even small traces of lead may cause lead poisoning. Kids who are younger than 6 years are the most susceptible to lead poisoning as it can severely affect their physical and mental development (2). In a particular incident, a 9-month-old baby was found to have elevated levels of lead in the blood during a routine screening. It was found that the baby wore a “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet” which caused lead poisoning (3).
What About Teething Necklaces?
Teething necklaces made of marble, amber, wood or silicone have become increasingly popular among parents with babies suffering from teething discomfort. Though they are marketed as a way to relieve teething pain, it can still cause choking hazards just like any other form of jewelry. The American Academy Of Pediatrics warns against any form of jewelry as suffocation is the leading cause of death among infants (4).
How To Soothe A Teething Infant
Since teething necklaces and beads pose several health hazards, there are other ways to soothe your little one’s sore gums. You can offer a gentle gum massage or try using cold things to help with the numbness and inflammation. If you feel like nothing is providing relief to your infant, contact your pediatrician as they may prescribe some safe options for pain relief.
It is hard to constantly supervise your child when they are wearing jewelry. Babies often have a way of surprising us, and leaving them unattended even for a few minutes can turn out to be hazardous. So avoid taking such risks with your baby’s life.