Ear Piercing for Kids – Right Age, Effects, and Safety Tips

Piercing kids’ ears has been a tradition in many families for generations. Girls, as well as boys, end up having their ears pierced when they are young. It is one of those events that many parents and families look forward to. But some things need to be kept in mind before moving ahead with this decision.

What Is the Appropriate Age to Pierce Your Child’s Ears?

The best age for ear piercing could be an individual’s choice since the reasons to pierce the ear vary from person to person. Generally, piercing your child’s ears when she is an infant is not advised. This is due to the simple reason that a tiny infant lacks the immune strength necessary to fight an infection, should it occur so. Hence, carrying out the piercing after the baby is at least 6 months old or older is recommended.

If you would like your child to have a say in getting the piercing, then it is advisable to wait till your child is about 9 or 10 years old.

How to Choose a Piercing Method

The method of carrying out a piercing depends on where the piercing would be done. Most salons that offer piercing services make use of a mechanised gun that has sterilised studs. Piercings are generally done for both the ears at the same time, should a kid choose to not return after getting one ear pierced. Tattoo studios make use of sterile surgical needles that provide an extra level of hygiene over the mechanised gun. In India, many parents take their children to a trusted jeweller, who uses a fine gold wire to pierce the earlobe.

Who Should Pierce Your Child’s Ear?

Families might recommend using their traditional piercers who have been doing it for generations. However, the piercing should only be done by professionals, with the use of proper gloves and hygienic, sterile tools. They should also have first-aid kits at hand.

How to Make Sure That Your Child Feels Minimal Pain During the Ear Piercing

  • Many professionals tend to use a topical anaesthetic cream on the earlobe made out of lidocaine. This helps in numbing the area and lessening the pain down to a simple prick. This needs to be applied in generous amounts, about 15 minutes or so.
  • Another way of carrying out the same task is by making use of ice. Holding an ice cube on the earlobe for a long time tends to reduce the sensitivity of the nerve endings in that area for a short period of time. So this can be done just before the lobe is pierced with the needle.
  • Neither of the two ways can reduce the pain completely. So it is important to support your child and make her understand, or distract her in such a way that she doesn’t notice the pain initially. The pain could also develop later on as the anaesthesia wears off. Let her hold your hands tightly during the process and advise her to take deep breaths to calm down.

Girl getting ear pierced

Which is the Best Metal for Earrings?

For the first earrings, ones that are made out of surgical stainless steel are available. These contain no alloys that could cause allergies and, hence, are the safest choice for the baby’s first earrings. Ear piercing studs for children could also be available in platinum, titanium and the popular 14-carat gold. Do avoid choosing earrings made out of white gold, since it might contain nickel which could cause an allergy. Your doctor can recommend which metals are the safest for your child’s first earrings.

Safety Measures

  • Make sure to avoid getting your child’s cartilage pierced. Cartilage piercings take longer to heal, and if proper care is not taken, it can lead to the formation of keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue).
  • If your child has long hair, always keep it tied in ponytails to prevent the hair from entangling with the earring. Keep products like hair spray, hair gel, and perfumes away from the ears.
  • If your child has any medical problems like allergies, a weak immune system, skin conditions, etc. talk to your doctor before getting her ears pierced.

What Are the Signs of Infection After Ear Piercing?

If the right precautions are not taken while piercing, there are chances that the hole might get infected. The infection starts showing itself in the form of swelling and redness in the area of the ear. Your child might feel the need to itch it and can experience pain. If there is any drainage occurring, this could be a sign of pus formation. A doctor would be able to tell if the symptoms are that of an allergy or an infection. An allergy can be easily mitigated by using different earrings. In case of an infection, the earrings must be removed, and the area must be cleaned. A dose of antibiotics would also be prescribed to fight off the bacteria. During the healing, the hole might close up, and this might need to be pierced again. One should wait at least for 6-8 months before attempting a piercing again and should avoid doing so repeatedly.

Effects of Ear Piercing in Young Kids

  • During playtime, your child’s pierced earlobe may come in contact with dirty hands or objects, and it may lead to an infection.
  • Any infected skin will heal and grow over the earrings. This might necessitate removing the rear stud that could sometimes be covered by the skin. If the earring has already been removed, a repeat piercing might have to be conducted.
  • During sports or physical activities, a larger earing could get stuck in clothes or other things, and this might lead to the earlobe being pulled. This can injure the earlobe or even rupture it, so caution must be exercised.
  • If the size of the piercing is too small, this could cause the new skin to blend with the earring.

Post-Piercing Care You Should Follow

  • After the piercing, the area is quite sensitive and exposed. Therefore, extra care and hygiene need to be maintained while attending to it. Ensure that your child keeps her hands clean and dry before touching the ear in any case. If your baby is young, keep her hands clean at all times since it might be difficult to stop her from touching her ears.
  • Even though the area is sensitive, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Make use of a saltwater solution and sponge the area lightly two times a day, once your child has taken her bath.
  • Families often recommend moving the earrings to keep the hole in proper shape. However, it is best not to play around with the piercing until the wound has properly healed. Do not remove any dry skin that forms over the wound.

Are There Any Activities Your Child Needs to Avoid After an Ear Piercing?

Until the piercing wound has properly healed, it is advised that your kids do not engage in extreme physical activities or play games where there is a lot of physical contact between kids. Avoid swimming as well since the germs from the pool could end up infecting the wound.

Ear piercing for children can make them quite happy and excited. Many kids tend to see their parents’ earrings and want the same for themselves. But it is essential to ensure that proper care is taken to prevent infections.

Resources & References: Parents, Riley Children’s Health

Also Read: 5 Harmful Effects of Mobile Phones on Children

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