A common question in the parent’s circle at daycare is when you can pierce baby’s ears. And this can be a contentious topic to broach as many don’t condone the piercing of an infant’s ears. However, conditions have changed, with some pediatricians even offering a safe piercing service.
Today, you can safely pierce your baby’s ears as early as 3 months old. However, certain risks come with piercing their ears this early. And, as such, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that a child’s ears be pierced only when they are old enough to make the decision themselves. This way, they’re old enough to care for the piercing.
But there is some that worry about what it might mean to pierce a hole through an infant’s earlobe. They wonder whether it’s worth putting the child through the pain purely to add adornment to the lobe. And they are concerned about risks such as infection and potential injury in babies and toddlers.
However, if you’re comfortable with it, you’ll need to know when you can pierce your baby’s ears and what precautions to take.
When Can You Pierce Baby’s Ears?
There isn’t any official age limit when it comes to having your infant’s ears pierced. However, organizations and medical professionals have provided their input on the issue. Therefore, there is some educated guidance to work with.
The predominant advice suggests that one should wait until the infant is at least 3 months old before introducing piercings. The primary reason for this is that the child would have received their tetanus vaccine by this age. This is helpful in the unlikely event that the child develops an infection at the wound site.
That said, it’s been reported that some pediatricians suggest waiting until the child is at least 4 years old. Their reasoning is that, at around the age of 4, a child develops the ability to take responsibility for certain things. At this age, the child can care for the pierced openings to limit infection or injury.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents wait until the child is old enough to decide for themselves. In other words, their advice is that children be allowed to choose to have piercings. And then, they partake in the necessary care required while allowing the piercings to heal.
The AAP suggests that an appropriate age for most children is around 5 years old or more. However, this is merely advice, and the decision lies with the parent at the end of the day. But, before you decide, you should take all the precautions and potential complications into account.
It’s always better to err on the side of caution, and infant ear piercing is undoubtedly no exception. One of the most prominent precautions is to never pierce a newborn’s ears. Should the piercings on such a tiny infant become infected, you will likely have to admit the child to the hospital. And that is something you want to avoid.
Another great precaution is to use hypoallergenic earrings after the ears have been pierced. Earrings made of pure gold or sterling silver are great examples. These will heavily reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to the earrings, which is relatively common. But it is most often linked to other metals and materials added to gold and silver in less expensive earrings.
Ensuring that the space and equipment where get the piercing is sterile and hygienic is paramount. Germs and bacteria at the piercing studio are the main culprits for infection.
You should also never allow the cartilage of your child’s ear to be pierced. Piercing the cartilage will be more painful for the child and could lead to a more severe infection. So, it’s best to stick to the earlobes for the safest piercing.
If you’re unsure of what to do to take care of the piercing site, ask the piercer for some tips. They do this for a living and will likely share some valuable information with you.
When the child’s ears have been pierced, make sure that you keep the earrings in their ears for at least 6 weeks. You can lean around the opening regularly with the earrings on. But you should not remove them during this time as it gives the wound time to heal.
If you suspect that there may be infection, look for swelling, redness of the skin, and possibly puss. If any of these are present, you should immediately take the child to the doctor. If the pierced holes are infected, your child will likely also be in pain and may start to run a fever.
Also, keep an eye out for redness, swelling, and itching around the opening. This could signify that your child is allergic to the earrings, which is not uncommon. If you spot any of these symptoms, take off the offending earrings as soon as possible.
Remember to disinfect and clean the wound regularly while it heals. But don’t forget to leave the earrings in for at least 6 weeks while the piercings heal.
However, don’t adorn your child with earrings that bits that can get caught on clothing or anywhere else. If an earring gets caught, it could result in a torn earlobe. So, always use studs for infants to be safe.
Bear in mind that piercing the earlobe is painful, so your baby might require some pain medication after piercing. It may be wise to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before going through with the piercing.
Many, particularly women, can’t wait to usher their little ones into the world of jewelry and fashion. They long to adorn their infants with cute and colorful studs and earrings to complete that adorable ensemble.
But creating a charming and fashionable look for your child can come at a price. And you must understand the safety implications associated with piercing your baby’s ears.
If you decide that it’s time to pierce your baby’s ears, ensure that you take the necessary precautions to avoid any complications.