Making the switch from plastic, kiddie “dress-up” jewelry to regular jewelry? Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
*Mind the material. It is best to get high-quality jewelry for children that is made out of one of the following materials: surgical steel, titanium, 14- or 18-karat gold, sterling silver or niobium. These metals are less likely to cause allergic reactions in children (or adults!). Try to avoid any item that has nickel, cobalt or white gold because these often irritate skin. If possible, don’t just go for the cheap stuff, studies have shown that even if it does say that it is “sterling silver,” sometimes the less expensive brands mix in more than the allowed amounts of other materials, which can lead to rashes, infections, etc. When trying a new type of material, even from the OK’d list, try one at a time. I know someone who can wear 18 karat gold without a problem, but gets rashes behind her ears if she wears 14-karat gold; nothing is truly “hypo-allergenic” for everyone; your child’s skin may tolerate one metal but not another.
*Have any piercings done properly. If your child wants his/her ears pierced and you have given the OK, look for a clean, safe place to get them pierced. Do not attempt this yourself or let a friend do it (unless properly trained). Improperly pierced ears can get keloids or infections (see: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/piercings-and-tattoos/things-that-can-happen-with-pierced-ears ). The technician should wash their hands & wear gloves, much like a doctor does, and should use sterile methods. Anything that goes into the ear should be one-time use, used only on your child.
*After piercing, make sure your child takes good care of the piercing, especially in the first few weeks. Your piercing technician should advise you of these, but the basic steps are:
- Keep the earring in for several weeks, non-stop, after piercing to keep the hole from closing shut.
- Turn the earring several times a day over this period to keep the hole open & clear.
- Carefully wash the ears with a gentle soap & water
- Avoid touching the newly pierced ears unless your hands are clean. You may also wish to apply rubbing alcohol or special creams to the area to ward off infections.
- Soreness, redness & puffiness are not uncommon at first, but may indicate a problem if these symptoms do not go away in a few days. See a doctor if these symptoms persist or if the ears are oozing or seem infected.
For More Information:
American Academy of Dermatology – Piercings & Tattoos (For Kids!) (http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/piercings-and-tattoos)