Ear Piercing for Kids: What You Need to Know
Posted by BPJ on 24th Aug 2022
Posted by BPJ on 24th Aug 2022
Did you know that the average age for a girl's first ear piercing is seven years old?
Of course, ear piercings range across the whole spectrum of age. Some people have earrings as infants, while others remain un-pierced until their thirties or later! Many kids and teens can't wait to get their ears pierced to start wearing fun jewelry.
Has your child been pestering for an ear piercing? Do you want to learn more before putting them under the needle?
Check out this in-depth guide for everything your need to know about ear piercings for kids!
The right age for ear piercings can depend on several factors. This could include the child's maturity level, the family's beliefs, or religious and cultural norms. Gender may also play a role when a child may have their ears pierced, as many parents don't support piercing boys' ears until they are older.
The appropriate age for an ear piercing will be different for every child. Here are some criteria to help you and your child make the right decision:
Most children will meet these criteria between the ages of eight and twelve, but maturity levels may vary. Children may need parental guidance with their piercing aftercare, but they should be willing and able to perform aftercare independently.
Some people pierce their infants' ears, but this is not ideal for several reasons. For one, the child isn't old enough to consent to and care for their piercing. In addition, young children may introduce more opportunities for infection or accidentally yank the earring out of place.
Earrings can also present a serious choking or ingestion hazard. Without constant parental supervision, the child might rip out or remove the earring and swallow it. Swallowing an earring, even a tiny stud, presents a severe risk to young kids' internal organs and warrants a trip to the urgent care center.
Earrings are a widespread and safe body modification, but they are a body modification nonetheless. It should go without saying that it's best not to modify your child's body without their consent. Some piercers may even refuse to pierce an infant or child who cannot or does not consent.
Although earrings are removable, piercing scars on the ear lobe can remain forever. Your child should express a genuine desire to have the piercing before getting it done. When the child wants their ears pierced, they are also more likely to tolerate the piercing procedure and follow aftercare.
The pierced person needs to consent and understand the implications of a body modification, even for something as simple and familiar as a lobe piercing.
Your child should understand and accept that having their ears pierced may hurt. They should also recognize the risk of infection, rips, or tears from the ear piercing. If they ever decide to remove their earrings, they should know that the hole could close up, or they could have permanent scars on their lobes.
If your child struggles to bathe, brush their teeth, or comb their hair daily, they may not be ready for an ear piercing. Lobe piercings are relatively easy to care for but are still open wounds. Infection is possible, especially if your child doesn't follow the appropriate aftercare.
Before getting the piercing, your child should commit to following the piercer's instructions and all of the aftercare rules. They should understand the timeline for healing and agree to clean their ears without parental help.
Has your child been begging you to have their ears pierced? Earrings are a fun way for kids and teenagers to celebrate their individuation. For some kids, earrings also signify growing up and becoming more mature.
Before taking your child to have their ears pierced, it's crucial to have a sit-down discussion on the matter. Because they are so common in our society, earrings may not seem like a big deal, but it's still essential for your child to understand the decision.
Talking to your child about ear piercings can also encourage more open conversations in the future. Use the ear piercing as an opportunity to teach your child about consent, self-care, and commitment. If your child wants other types of ear piercings in the future, like cartilage piercing, you can easily repeat this conversation.
This may sound obvious, but parents and kids often argue about fashion choices. Has your child been begging you for an ear piercing? Are you unsure about their readiness?
Start a discussion about earrings when you and your child feel calm and happy. Let them know that you are listening to their request, but you want to ask them some questions first. If you are the one pushing for earrings, remind them that they are in control of their own body.
Does your child genuinely want to have their ears pierced? Why do they want the earrings? Is their desire influenced by friends, siblings, or peers?
Your child should be able to confirm that they want the earrings for themselves and not to impress anyone else. If you are a parent trying to convince them to get earrings, this is the part where they need to consent for themselves.
If your child truly wants the piercing, they should promise to care for it independently. Your child must understand and verbally agree to follow all of their aftercare instructions. They should also decide to wait until the piercing has completely healed before attempting a jewelry change.
This is the most fun part of your discussion! Now that your child has expressed desire and commitment and agreed to the piercing, you can research and plan together.
Discuss what kind of jewelry your child would like and where they would like to go for the piercing. Research tattoo and piercing studios together to find a shop that is professional, clean, and polite.
Consider waiting until a special occasion to set the appointment. You could also use the piercing as a reward for meeting a goal, like earning an A on their report card.
Once you've made a promise to your child, you should do your best to keep it. When the piercing day comes, make a date of it and treat yourselves to some lunch and jewelry shopping! Ear piercings symbolize a milestone in your child's growth and development, so be sure to mark the occasion and celebrate.
Some stores and kiosks at the mall offer ear piercings, but there are several reasons to avoid these. Kiosk piercers aren't professionally trained, and they don't have the proper equipment to ensure a safe and sanitary piercing.
The biggest reason you should avoid going to mall stores and kiosks is that they use piercing guns. Like a stapler, piercing guns use firm pressure to force blunt jewelry through the ear lobe.
The spring in these devices often gets stuck halfway through the procedure, causing unnecessary pain and trauma to your child. Jewelry may also turn out uneven due to poor alignment and execution.
In addition to being brutal and unreliable, piercing guns are downright unsanitary. It's impossible to sterilize the device between clients completely. Even after wiping down the surface, blood and tissue particles can remain in the crevices of the piercing gun and transfer into the next client's open piercing.
Mall kiosks and piercing guns may seem like a quick and convenient way to get your child's ears pierced, but they are far from it. Instead, you should always take your child to a professional tattoo and piercing studio to have their ears pierced. Professional studios use single-use hollow needles, a much easier and cleaner ear piercing method.
These places can seem intimidating initially, but the piercers at tattoo shops are generally very kind and knowledgeable. They have the proper training and equipment to ensure your child has a perfect piercing with minimal pain.
Taking your child to a tattoo shop can also be a lesson in meeting new people and accepting unique lifestyles. Professional piercers will follow the necessary steps to ensure a clean, quick, and fun experience for your child.
Before doing anything, the piercer should confirm with your child that they want the piercing. Most professional piercers will not pierce a child that is screaming, crying, or resistant in any way.
If your child wants the piercing but feels hesitant, your piercer may suggest looking at the jewelry first or thinking about it more and coming back another day. The piercer should also let your child know they can change their mind during the procedure.
A typical earlobe piercing with jewelry will cost between $40 and $60. Depending on the studio, your child's piercer may request payment before or after the procedure. Most studios will ask for payment after the piercing to ensure you are happy with the results.
After your child consents to the piercing, they can select jewelry. In addition to an array of body jewelry, piercing shops also offer standard ear lobe and cartilage earrings. For most ear piercings, a small stud is the best option for healing.
The piercer will place your child's selected jewelry in an autoclave. This device uses high temperatures and pressure to sterilize the earrings before they go into your child's ear—yet another vital step that mall kiosks miss!
Your child's piercer will clean the area and use a small ink dot to mark the piercing location. They may need to wipe the ink away and mark the dot a few times to ensure the placement is perfect and even on both sides. Before moving on, they may ask your child to look in the mirror to ensure they like the placement.
Once the autoclave and ink markings are complete, it's time for the big moment. A metal tray will hold everything your piercer needs to perform the piercing, including the hollow needle and sterile gauze for any bleeding.
Your piercer should always use a new, clean needle to perform the piercing. Piercing needles are single-use, so you never have to worry about the previous client's bodily fluids contacting your child's piercing.
The piercer will show your child each item on the tray and explain the procedure before doing the piercing. If you or your child have more questions, now is the time to ask.
When your child is ready, the piercer will position the needle over their ear. Some piercers will use a small clamp to hold the tissue in place, but the clamp is gentle and painless.
The piercer will ask your child to take a deep breath and relax, then slide the needle through the marked spot. Your child may feel a slight pinch or stinging sensation, but the sharp needle should make the procedure relatively painless.
With the needle still resting in the ear, the piercer will pick up one of your child's stud earrings. The front of the earring will align with the hollow needle and slide into the ear as the piercer pulls it through. Again, your child may feel slight pinching, but jewelry placement isn't painful.
The entire ear piercing process takes only a few seconds on each ear. After piercing and placing jewelry in one ear, the piercer will move on to the other ear. A good piercer will praise your child and encourage them to complete the other side, but your child can still decide to stop at any point.
After both ear piercings are complete, you're all done! The piercer may wipe away some blood from the piercings, but a well-done ear piercing will bleed very little. Before you go, your piercer will give you instructions for aftercare.
Your child will likely feel a rush of adrenaline and excitement after their ear piercing, so parents need to pay attention to the piercer's instructions. Ask plenty of questions and write down their instructions if they don't provide a paper copy.
Piercing studios typically offer a saline solution at the checkout counter, so pick up a bottle before you go.
An ear lobe piercing generally takes six to eight weeks to heal completely. The first few weeks after your child's ear piercing are crucial for healing. Your child needs to follow a strict aftercare routine during this time to ensure recovery and prevent infections.
If you have questions about aftercare or a problem arises, don't hesitate to call your piercer. They're happy to answer your aftercare questions and ensure you have great healed results.
Your child must avoid touching or playing with their earrings as much as possible to prevent infection. They should always, always, always wash their hands before handling the piercing. It can be tempting to twist the jewelry or pick at scabs, but this will only prolong the healing process.
If possible, your child should also avoid sleeping on the piercing. Encourage them to sleep on their back or consider purchasing a U-shaped pillow to create space for their ear.
Your child must avoid swimming or submersing their piercing for at least six weeks, especially in uncontrolled water like pools, rivers, and lakes. Showers are better than baths during this time, as it's best to keep the piercing as dry as possible.
Washing their hands and cleaning the earrings and wound twice daily is crucial to prevent infection. Make piercing care a part of your child's regular morning and bedtime routine, and encourage them to clean if they've been sweaty or playing outside.
Ensure your child follows these steps twice daily for cleaning ear piercings:
Your child should only use a gentle saline solution to clean the piercing. Never use alcohol or peroxide to clean a piercing, and don't apply any ointments or creams. These can suffocate airflow and worsen infections.
Infections can happen even if your child thinks they are following proper aftercare. Parents need to keep an eye out and monitor their child's healing. Signs of an ear piercing infection could include:
An ear-piercing infection isn't usually serious but can be excruciating and annoying. Ensuring proper piercing care, using a warm compress, and rinsing with saline is usually enough to treat a minor infection. Sometimes, your child may need to visit a doctor for topical or oral antibiotics.
Your child should wait at least four to six weeks before attempting to change their ear jewelry. For some people, this healing process can take longer. You'll know the piercing is healed when it no longer crusts, doesn't cause any pain, and doesn't stick to the earring.
Changing the jewelry for the first time can be tricky, so you may need to help your child. Standing piercing jewelry is designed to stay in the piercing wound without falling out, so it can be difficult for your child to remove the earrings themselves. Be as gentle as possible when removing the standard jewelry to avoid disturbing the piercing hole.
Not all earrings are created equal, and children need to be extra cautious with their new bling. Silver and gold earrings can be pricey, but they are worth it to ensure healing, safety, and comfort.
Earrings marketed toward children and teens are often made from low-quality, irritating materials. Fashion earrings are okay to wear sometimes, but your child should continue wearing high-quality jewelry for a few months to ensure their ears heal properly.
Encourage your child to pick nickel-free and low-profile earrings for their first jewelry set. This way, they'll be able to enjoy some classic and comfortable earrings for many years to come.
In addition to quality materials, kids should also consider the types of earrings they wear daily. Large hoops and dangling earrings can easily get caught on kids' clothes, hair, and other objects. If these earrings rip through the earlobe, your child could have a permanent scar or may lose the ability to wear earlobe piercings in the future.
Ear piercings for kids are more than a fashion statement; they symbolize responsibility, maturity, and self-expression. Whether you pierce your kid's ears while they're young or wait until they're older, earrings can be a celebration of your child's individuality. With the proper care and consideration, you and your child will adore having pierced ears.
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