What’s the Best Age to Get Ears Pierced?
What’s the Best Age to Get Ears Pierced?
Do you have a little one begging to get her ears pierced? While pint-sized studs are undeniably adorable, you might have some reservations about the timeline.
When is too early? Are there any risks associated with waiting too long? How do you know when to bring them in to pick out their first pair?
Today, we’re sharing our insights on the best age to get ears pierced. Read on to discover the specifics to know and learn how to make this decision together in confidence.
Determining Your Reason
There isn’t a clear-cut answer on what age to pierce baby ears. Rather, this decision varies among families.
In some cultures, it’s customary to pierce the ears of a very young baby. However, other families choose to wait much longer, until their children can make the choice for themselves.
Before you begin thinking about piercing your child’s ears, consider your reason for doing so. Then, you can nail down the logistics and make a plan.
When Is Too Young?
In most cases, doctors advise against piercing the ears of a newborn baby, or even one as young as a few months old. This is because the piercing essentially creates an open wound on their body.
When they’re very little, babies haven’t built up their immune system strength. If that wound were to become infected, it could lead to serious complications. For that reason, most physicians recommend waiting until a child is at least three to six months old before piercing their ears.
By then, babies should have received their tetanus vaccine. This vaccination can help prevent any health problems that may arise as a result of the piercing. While tetanus infections rarely occur after a piercing, it’s still smart to take this proactive step.
The great question of what age can you get your ears pierced is mostly centered around the risk of infection. By waiting even a few months, you can give your child’s immune system time to grow and develop. This way, they’ll be less likely to experience complications after the piercing.
Of course, always consult with your child’s pediatrician before you make this decision. They can inform you about any issues that could arise. Some pediatricians will even perform the piercings themselves right in their office!
Benefits of Waiting
What if you decide not to pierce your child’s ears when they’re very little? In that case, you can reap two important benefits.
First, you allow your child to establish a sense of control and body governance. They’ll realize that they have the final say in what happens to their appearance, and this can help build their confidence and self-esteem. For this reason, many pediatricians recommend waiting until your child is old enough to make the decision for themselves.
It can also strengthen trust within a parent-child relationship. If your child feels that you respect them enough to put this choice in their hands, it can grow their maturity.
In addition, waiting until they’re older means that they’ll be better equipped to take care of the ear piercing themselves. They can take a more active role in cleaning the piercing site, rotating the posts, and checking for any signs of infection. In addition, they’ll also enjoy choosing different pairs of earrings once the initial site heals.
Safety Tips to Remember
No matter when you decide to pierce your baby’s ears, there are a few critical steps to keep in mind. Let’s review the top ones.
Ensure Equipment Is Sterile
Always make sure that any equipment touching your child’s ears is completely sterile. This can help ward off any infections and keep your child as safe as possible.
Pierce at the Right Location
While older teenagers and adults might consider piercing their upper cartlidge down the road, it’s not advisible for children. This is because if an infection occurs in your child’s cartlidge, it can be more severe and difficult to treat.
Hire a Qualified Person
You may have seen that scene in “Grease” where Sandy gets her ears pierced with just an ice cube and a needle. While that certainly makes for an entertaining plotline, never try that at home! It’s imperative that the person piercing your child’s ears be a trained and licensed professional.
Even one small error can have significant consequences, so this is a step you can’t afford to skip. If you don’t know the piercing technician’s credentials, make sure to ask.
Choose Appropriate Earrings
While you might love long, dangly metal earrings, they might not be the best choice for your little one. Instead, look for ones with hypoallergenic posts that will be gentle on their growing ears. These are not only more comfortable, but they’re also less likely to get hung on clothes, bedding, and other fabrics.
At some facilities, you can even choose flexible, plastic studs that are much more comfortable and easier to sleep on.
If you decide to go the metal route, look for posts that are made out of sterling silver or gold. These two metals are less likely to catalyze an allergic reaction than others, such as nickel. Today, you can find adorable and appropriate body pierce jewelry through reputable online retailers.
Don’t Take Them Out Too Early
Your child may adore their new earrings at the store. Then, they get home and suddenly complain that they’re uncomfortable. Or, they want to switch the studs they choose and put in new ones.
While it can be tempting to just take them out, we don’t recommend it. Remember: It’s an open wound and it needs plenty of time to heal. Most physicians recommend leaving earrings in newly-pierced ears for a minimun of six weeks.
Clean the Site Regularly
While you’re waiting those six weeks out, make sure to clean your child’s ears on a regular basis. If possible, you should clean them once in the morning and once at night.
If the piercing facility sent you home with a bottle of ear-cleaning solution, then use that. If not, hydrogen peroxide can work well to keep the site clean and germ-free.
Identifying Signs of Keloids
Keloids are an abundance or overgrowth of scar tissue formed by acute trauma to your skin. While there are several different procedures that can cause them, they most commonly occur after ear piercings.
As the piercing site heals, new scar tissue will begin to form over your child’s old skin tissue. If your body makes too much scar tissue, keloids will form.
As they develop, you may feel a round and hard lump at the site. Keloids can occur on both the lobe of your ear, as well as the cartlidge. While they start out small, they can grow bigger over time. If you closely monitor your child after the piercing, you can keep an eye out for keloids and treat them if they occur.
What Are the Signs of an Infection?
If your child’s ears become infected as a result of a piercing, it’s important to take quick action. As long as you notice it in time, your pediatrician should be able to prescribe antibiotics to ease their symptoms and eliminate the infection.
Key signs of infection to look out for include:
- Pain at the piercing site
Monitor your child closely for at least 24 hours after the piercing. If they display any of these symptoms, call your doctor for further guidance. Some reactions can point to an allergic reaction, while others mean there’s an infection at work.
You may notice that your child appears to feel a little cranky or irritable immediately after their piercing. This might be a simple reaction to the mild pain that the process can cause. Check with your physician to see if you can administer pain-relief medication to help ease their symptoms.
In most cases, the initial piercing pain will go away after a few days. One benefit of waiting is that older children are better at localizing their pain. They can tug at their ear lobes or point to their ears, so you know exactly what’s wrong. Very young children can’t discern where their pain is coming from, which can be much more miserable.
Determining the Best Age to Get Ears Pierced
As you can see, opinions and recommendations vary when it comes to the best age to get ears pierced. As long as you wait at least three months, the infection risk lowers and you should be able to proceed with your pediatrician’s recommenation.
However, there are many advantages to waiting until your child is old enough to make that decision on their own. Their risk of issues such as keloids lowers, and they can more activiely participate in the cleaning and care process.
Interested in learning more about how to navigate topics like this? Check out our Lifestyle section!