Since the concern about lead in jewellery specifically designed for children was highlighted in 2003, industry watchdogs have been keeping an eye on what has been happening in the world of children’s jewellery. Random tests have been performed on a range of different jewellery items to ensure that standards are being maintained. Lately the less expensive children’s items have been attracting attention as they are being sold with a warning label attached clearly stating that certain items are not suitable for children aged either under 7, 12 or 14 years of age, which seems more than just a little odd as the items themselves appeared to have been designed for this market.
In total five pairs of earrings (in different styles) and two pendant necklaces were sent for testing. The items in question had been purchased from high street stores such as Claire’s Accessories and Asda. Both the surface of the jewellery and the interiors were tested for heavy metals the results were surprising. All of the items tested were found to contain lead levels far in excess of what the government deems safe for use in children’s jewellery, more concerning though is that some of the items that were tested were labelled as being ‘Sterling Silver’ which clearly they were not. One earring sold under the ‘Disney’ brand was found to contain 47 times the acceptable limit for lead.
- If you do want to buy jewellery items for a child, stay away from the cut price end of the market. Something labelled as ‘Sterling Silver’ may not be.
- Keep all items of jewellery and small charms away from small children as they could be at risk of choking or poisoning if swallowed.
- If an item of jewellery is ingested seek medical attention at once.
- Only buy jewellery from a reputable jewellery store.
Why Do We Buy Children Jewellery?
The question could be asked as to why do we buy these items for our children when we know that certain items of jewellery can pose a risk to health through catching on clothing and or other objects. Some parents send young children to school with earrings which could be pulled from ears causing damage to the ear lobe and a great deal of distress yet we keep buying these items as gifts to celebrate birthdays, holy communions and Christmas.
Young children see their parents wearing jewellery and of course want to emulate them. Having a piece of sparkling jewellery that no one else in school has sets them apart from the rest of their friends and increases their social standing within their peer group. Yet throughout all of this we are unknowingly putting our children at risk of more than just accidental damage from having their jewellery pulled on, losing an item or having it broken at school. We are exposing our children to toxic substances that could cause them long term damage. In our haste to buy them gifts that offer great value for money we are actually damaging their health, that can’t be right.