I recently saw a TV segment on “blinging” your baby and toddler. It seems that the latest craze is decking out not only little girls, but also little boys. Being the mother of three sons I can understand wanting to “dress up” boys as well (little boy clothes can be a bit boring) but a few of the models on TV were wearing necklaces.
Now, a boy wearing a necklace doesn’t bother me at all, but a baby or toddler with a necklace worries me! This isn’t about gender, rather about safety.
A necklace is a real choking and strangling danger for babies and young children. I know that many parents receive necklaces for their babies on the occasion of a baptism and in some cultures an infant is given a necklace made of string or beads to wear soon after birth.
But, whenever a baby comes into my office with a necklace on I discuss the possibility, even if remote, of the child suffocating if the necklace gets caught or twisted around the child’s neck. There is no reason to even risk it!
Baby bling is great if you want to put your child in cute shirts, hats, or even trendy jeans. Go for it! But I would never put a necklace on a child. It is akin to the adage about peanuts...when should a child be allowed to eat peanuts? When they can spell the word!
We pediatricians are no longer worried about peanut allergies in the young child, it is the choking hazard that is the real concern. It’s the same for a necklace. Let your child wear it when they can spell the word, or put it on when your 3 year old plays dress up, but take it off once finished. There is no need to ever have a young child sleep in anything like a necklace, or anything that has a cord until they are much older.
Children ages 4 and under, and especially those under the age of 1 year, are at the greatest risk for airway obstruction and suffocation. So, put the necklace back in the jewelry box for awhile. You can re-wrap for re-gifting and re-wearing at a later date. Safety before bling!