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What Age Is Best for Ear Piercings?

Posted by Jessy L. on 26th Mar 2023

What Age Is Best for Ear Piercings?

What Age Is Best for Ear Piercings?

In the US, a whopping 80-90% of women have their ears pierced, along with some men too. Many of these piercings are done in childhood, but there's still debate about what age is ideal for piercings.

For parents, there are many important factors to consider before piercing a child's ears, from health considerations to avoiding accidents. Before deciding what age to pierce ears, use this guide to help you settle on the best age.

Piercings and Pain

When deciding when to pierce ears, one major concern many parents have is the pain. Some people fear that babies have a lower pain tolerance, while older children and adults are better equipped to handle pain from piercings.

In reality, piercing your child's ears when they're still a baby may be a good way to help them handle potential pain.

Older children are aware of the piercing and should be prepped ahead of time so they understand what the piercing will feel like. But this means that they are more likely to become frightened by the pain. This often happens during the time of the piercing, when they might become scared and stressed once they're sitting in the piercing chair.

On the other hand, piercings can be a painful experience for babies too. But they're unlikely to comprehend what is happening during the time of the piercing, and any pain they experience will likely be forgotten with time.

But as the piercing is healing, the ear may have some pain and inflammation. Because of this, babies are likely to be fussy during the healing process. If the piercing is causing irritation and discomfort, you may want to consider giving your child pain medicine that is safe for babies.

How to Deal With the Risk of Infection

When skin is pierced, it opens the opportunity for an infection to occur. This may be a concern for parents of babies and small children.

When children are very young, they can't verbalize pain or other infection symptoms the way that older children can. This is one reason why waiting until a child is older might be better than piercing ears early.

Older children are also more responsible and able to care for their own ears, which is essential to preventing infection. Younger children, however, won't be able to do this alone.

If parents are able to keep ears clean and cared for, age may not be an issue. This care includes washing ears daily, cleaning with rubbing alcohol, and twisting the earrings regularly to keep the fresh holes open.

School and Sports Requirements

Most schools allow earrings, but some don't or forbid earrings to be worn during sports and certain activities.

Children should continuously wear earrings in newly-pierced ears for about two months. This may limit students who are involved in some extracurricular activities. For this reason, choosing to get piercings early, far before starting sports or other activities, may be advantageous.

Avoiding Accidents

For young children and babies, earrings may pose some potential health and safety risks.

Once babies are around six months old, they are able to grab and pull at earrings. For this reason, it's important to avoid earrings that dangle, and instead, stick to small studs.

While rare, earrings can also become a choking hazard for babies. Parents should only use earrings designed for babies with backings that are secure. The earrings should be somewhat difficult to remove, yet they shouldn't be too tight.

Finally, parents should be aware of the risk of allergic reactions. Some jewelry materials can create irritation for children with allergies.

Older children are likely to notice if there's irritation or a rash, unlike smaller children. Concerns over allergies can be solved by choosing high-quality gold jewelry or surgical stainless steel.

Personality Considerations

When deciding what's the best age to get ears pierced, personality and personal preferences are also important factors.

If ears are pierced too early, children may later regret the piercing, especially if they didn't consent to it. Young children may decide that the look of ear piercings doesn't suit their personality or personal style.

Thankfully, earrings are easy to remove if the child later wishes to do so. And some even find that their piercing holes shrink and close over time.

What Do the Professionals Say?

When it comes to deciding what age to get baby ears pierced, there isn't one right answer.

One recommendation is to wait until a baby has received two tetanus shots around four months of age. Others say to wait until after three months of age, when fevers (a possible side effect if the piercing becomes infected) aren't as much of a cause for concern.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests waiting until children are old enough to care for the piercings themselves.

In short, even the professionals can't seem to agree on the right time to pierce children's ears. When in doubt, consult with your pediatrician for their opinion. They can provide advice based on your child and their unique needs.

In some cases, they can even provide piercings in their office using safe, medical-grade tools.

Deciding What Age to Pierce Ears

When it comes to figuring out what age to pierce ears, the answer is this: there's no right answer.

Consider your child's health, level of responsibility, and lifestyle. For young children, be prepared to take on the responsibility of regularly cleaning and caring for the new ear piercings.

For older children, consider if their activities may get in the way of having pierced ears.

In the end, a good age for ear piercing is the age that fits your family and your child's situation.

Once you're ready to get your child's ears pierced, make sure to choose high-quality earrings from our selection of children's jewelry!

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