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Why shouldn’t babies suck on keys? Babble.com’s Parental Advisory.

Is it really bad for a baby to suck on keys? The other day a guy on the street scolded me when my baby girl was sucking on my keys for all of two seconds. He said, “Get them out of her mouth! They’re poisonous!” And of course I felt like a bad mom and pulled them out and she cried. Then I felt angry. I’m sure they are gross, but poisonous? What’s the deal? – Suck On This

Dear Suck,

Our first thought was, oh, please. Babies have been sucking on keys for generations. They’ve even made toy versions of keys. That’s how much babies like them. How bad could they be? Our personal coping strategy is to think of all things gross as immunity-boosters. And with all the subway poles our babies lick and city sandbox sand they eat, you’d think we’d be safe with the keys from our bag.

But since you asked, we were forced to investigate. And after scanning past several interesting items about Alicia Keys Sucking, we did come up with some somewhat disturbing information. Aside from a coating of possibly icky pocket grunge and a residue of not-so-nutritious WD40 lingering around the edges, some keys also feature lead. Yeah, lead. Brass keys, specifically, often contain about 2% of it.

A Lead Poisoning Prevention resource states: Sucking on car keys is dangerous. Even handling car keys can leave lead on one’s hands . . . Never give a child real car keys or brass items to play with.

As much as we loathe agreeing with a nosy, public mom-humiliator, your pal on the street apparently does have a point. He might have conveyed the information in a less alarmist style; if a moment of key sucking was really that dangerous, you’d think more people would know about the risks. But to be on safe side you might want to keep your keys to yourself. One solution would be to whittle some keys from organically grown, unprocessed, unpainted wood. We’re joking! Those plastic ones should be fine. As long as you can find some that don’t contain BPA, or phthalates, or . . .

Have a question? Email parentaladvisory@babble.com


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