Ear Piercing for Kids: Right Age, Effects & Safety Tips

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

Piercing kids’ ears has been a cherished tradition passed down through generations in numerous families. Both girls and boys often undergo ear piercing at a young age, creating a milestone that many parents eagerly anticipate. However, before proceeding with this decision, several crucial considerations should be taken into account. Parents must prioritize the safety and well-being of their children, ensuring that the piercing process is carried out by professionals in a hygienic environment. Additionally, understanding the potential discomfort and responsibility involved in caring for newly pierced ears is vital to make an informed and thoughtful 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.

Why Should You Prefer a Pediatrician for Children’s Ear Piercing?

When it comes to ear piercing for children, choosing a pediatrician for the procedure can offer several advantages. Pediatricians specialize in the health and well-being of children, making them well-equipped to handle such delicate procedures. Here are four compelling reasons why selecting a pediatrician for children’s ear piercing is a wise choice:

1. Expertise in Pediatric Care

Pediatricians possess specialized knowledge in child healthcare, including the unique needs and sensitivities of young patients. Their expertise ensures that the ear-piercing procedure is conducted with precision and minimal discomfort.

2. Safe and Sterile Environment

Pediatricians operate in environments designed for children’s health and safety. Choosing a pediatrician for ear piercing ensures that the procedure takes place in a sterile setting, reducing the risk of infections or complications.

3. Knowledge of Age-Appropriate Practices

Pediatricians are familiar with age-appropriate practices, considering the developmental stages of children. This knowledge enables them to recommend the most suitable earrings and provide guidance on aftercare, ensuring a smooth healing process.

4. Emergency Preparedness

In the rare event of complications or unexpected reactions, pediatricians are trained to handle emergencies. Their quick response and familiarity with pediatric emergencies contribute to a safer overall experience for both children and parents.

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 (1). 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.
  • In consultation with a healthcare professional, giving your child an age-appropriate over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the piercing may help manage any post-piercing discomfort. Always follow the recommended dosage.

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 on 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.
  • Restrict your child from swimming, especially in pools, for a few weeks after the piercing. Pools may contain bacteria that can increase the risk of infection.
  • Opt for earrings made of hypoallergenic materials to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction. Avoid changing earrings too soon; let the initial earrings stay in place until the healing process is complete.
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes to prevent any friction or irritation to the pierced ears. Tight collars or hoods can rub against the earrings and disrupt the healing process.
  • Keep a close eye on the pierced ears for any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult with your pediatrician promptly.
  • Keep hair away from the pierced area: Encourage your child to tie back or clip their hair away from the newly pierced ears, especially during sleep. This prevents hair strands from tangling with the earrings, reducing the risk of irritation or accidental pulling.

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.

FAQs

1. Is It Safe to Use Piercing Guns for Kids’ Ear Piercing?

Piercing guns are a common method, but safety concerns exist. Pediatricians recommend needle piercing over guns, as guns can cause more tissue damage and complications. Professional piercing by a pediatrician or experienced piercer in a sterile environment is considered safer.

2. What Is the Cost of Ear Piercing for Children?

The cost varies based on location, method, and professional performing the procedure. On average, it can range from $20 to $100. Pediatricians may charge more for their expertise. Some jewelry stores offer free piercing with the purchase of earrings.

3. How Long Can Ear Piercing Hurt Your Child?

Initial pain lasts only a moment during piercing. Soreness may persist for a few days to weeks. Pain can be managed with proper care and pain relievers. If persistent pain or signs of infection occur, consult a healthcare professional. Healing times vary, but the worst discomfort typically subsides within a week.

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. However, it is essential to ensure that proper care is taken to prevent infections.

References/Resources:

1. What to Expect When Getting Your Ears Pierced; Cleveland Clinic; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-to-expect-when-getting-your-ears-pierced/

2. Ear Piercing For Kids: Safety Tips From a Pediatrician; Riley Children’s Health (Indiana University Health); https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/ear-piercing-for-kids-safety-tips-from-a-pediatrician

3. Issues With Piercing Guns; Association of Professional Piercers; https://safepiercing.org/piercing-guns/

4. Wijk. M, Kummer. J, Kon. M; Ear piercing techniques and their effect on cartilage, a histologic study (Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery); National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17684004/; August 2007

5. Infected Ear Piercing; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21503-infected-ear-piercing

6. Can I go swimming after a piercing?; NHS UK; https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/can-i-go-swimming-after-a-piercing/

7. Ear piercing: how young is too young?; Health University of Utah; https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/2023/07/ear-piercing-how-young-too-young

Also Read:

Ear Pain in Kids
Sensitive Ears in Young Children
Ear Pain Home Remedies for Children

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