It may come as a surprise to parents that almost anything can cause an allergic reaction in babies, including their clothes. What makes it worse is that the symptoms can come on gradually and are often mistaken for colic or other conditions. Allergic reactions in babies, also known as atopic dermatitis, affect about 20% of all children, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
I'm allergic to nickel myself, and often our clothing, including our babies' clothes, contains it.
What is a nickel allergy?
A nickel allergy is the most common cause of contact allergic dermatitis. For those affected dermatitis also known as eczema develops in the areas where metals containing nickel come into contact with the skin.
In clothing, this is usually associated with things like poppers, zips, studs on jeans to name just a few.
As a result, the skin becomes extremely itchy, inflamed, red, and blistered. The experience can be extremely uncomfortable for adults, let alone babies and children!
In 2009 Katherine E. Heim & Bruce A. McKean released a paper that showed a range of testing on children's clothing, specifically the fastenings on baby clothes. They concluded that clothing fasteners purchased in the USA could be a source of early childhood exposure to releasable nickel.
This study also found that of the fasteners they tested that were also EN1811 tested. A staggering 70%released nickel above the European nickel directive release limits! Wiley Online Library. 2009. Children’s clothing fasteners as a potential source of exposure to releasable nickel ions. [ONLINE] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01487.x. [Accessed 10 July 2021].
Since I am allergic to nickel, I must use nickel-free fasteners, for myself and especially for children and babies! That's why I take extra caution to ensure my poppers are safe and nickel-free.
The next time you purchase clothing, ensure that the fastenings are nickel-free, after all, no one wants to see a child suffer unnecessarily due to their clothing!
Those who believe they or their little ones may have nickel allergies should consult their doctor.