Ear Piercing: 3 Things You Need to Know

smiling little girl with earingsAs the parent of a young child, you may be wondering if it is time to pierce her ears! It's a question that countless parents have asked, and its answer has definitely caused some debate. Many people will tell you to wait until your child is old enough to request the piercing on her own, while others will encourage you to pierce her ears as a baby to avoid the constant fiddling and touching that can be common among preschoolers. But before you decide to pierce your child’s ears, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

Age

There is no hard, fast, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. In some cultures, it is common to pierce a child’s ears when she or he is very young, while some are of the opinion that the age of eight and above is the appropriate time. Dr. Barton D. Schmitt, author of “My Child Is Sick,” recommends the following, “Pierced earrings should not be worn until a child is old enough (usually older than four years) to know not to fidget with them (which can lead to infections) or take them out and put them in her mouth (which can lead to swallowing or choking on them). Ideally, the ears should not be pierced until a child can play an active part in the decision (usually past age eight).”

Surgical steel or 14k gold are the best materials to use in order to avoid an allergic reaction.

It is important that if you do pierce your preschooler’s ears, you are able and willing to be vigilant against touching, fiddling, and messing with the piercing at all times. You should also take into consideration whether or not your child is a slow healer, prone to infections, or prone to form thick scars.

Preparation

If your child is old enough, you should have a discussion with your child about the moment of pain she will experience and the responsibility it will require to take care of the new piercing. In addition, you should call your pediatrician to inquire whether or not they offer ear piercing services.

A doctor’s office is one of the more sanitary places to get a piercing done. If your pediatrician does not offer ear piercing, locate an experienced, licensed, and knowledgeable piercing establishment. You should inquire about the length of time the person making the piercing has been piercing ears, what sanitizing measures are taken, and if a numbing cream is used prior to piercing. Surgical steel or 14k gold are the best materials to use in order to avoid an allergic reaction.

Care

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Once the piercing is complete, it is important to clean the piercing at least two times a day, for four to six weeks. Prior to cleaning, ensure that you thoroughly wash your hands. Apply the cleaning solution provided or hydrogen peroxide at the site of the piercing with a cotton swab. Gently rotate the piercing in the ear three times to prevent scar tissue buildup and apply an antibiotic ointment if the piercing is red or has discharge.

 

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Ear Piercing: 3 Things You Need to Know

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2 comments

  1. Angela says:

    I very clearly remember when I had my ears pierced. I don’t know how old I was, but I do remember that it was before I started kindergarten. My mom took me to a really big store with lots of little stores inside it (a mall). We went into one of the jewelry stores, and I was shown some earrings and asked which I thought was the prettiest. I chose a sparkly pink pair. I was sat on a stool and my earlobes were wiped with a wet cotton ball. Then the store clerk pulled out this metal, oddly-shaped gun (the piercing gun); and I was told to sit still. Suddenly there was this horrible pain in my right ear. I screamed, the gun got stuck, I tried to pull away, my mom was shushing me, and then I was free. My ear still hurt though, and I continued to cry. I didn’t want them to do the other one. I begged and pleaded; but in the end, I was forced to have my other ear pierced. I cried the entire way home.
    I actually asked my mother a few weeks ago why she had my ears pierced. She told me I asked her to. I don’t remember asking her, but I do remember the piercing. I didn’t know what was going on. All I knew was that some people were hurting me, and my mother was telling me to let them. Because of this, I believe it is best to wait until the child FULLY understands what is going on.

  2. i wanted to get her ears pierced at a young age, but now that i think about it and all the fidgeting going on, i’ll wait til she is older then she can make the decision herself, thank you L)

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