Ear Piercing Kids - What's the best age?
Hilary Duff had her daughter Banks’ ears pierced when she was just eight months old, but the celeb everyone remembers for ear piercing is Kim Kardashian whose daughter North West had her ears pierced on her first birthday and was adorned with diamond stud earrings – the debate continues!
Medical specialists recommend ear piercing for kids is done when they are about six months of age. Doctors feel that at this age, children are having moments of discomfort having vaccinations etc, so to have their ears pierced will be similar. If you wait until your child is an older baby/toddler, they could well protest after their first ear has been pierced and refuse to have the second one done.
If you are not having your child’s ears pierced for cultural or religious reasons, experts reckon that the next best age is about 12 years old as your child will be able to make their own decision. In the UK, it is interesting to note that the current average age is actually seven years of age and in Scotland, Children under 16 years must have their parents’ written permission. Having said that, a number of teenagers go on to regret their decision within a couple of years, remove their earrings and let the holes close naturally!
The most important point is to have excellent hygiene throughout so that the ears do not become infected. This includes choosing the right place to get the ears pierced i.e. not on a market stall on a busy day! You need to choose somewhere that offers the service, has qualified staff and has a sterile, safe environment. Claire's is a popular place that a lot of mums like to use.
Not every kids’ ears will take to having pierced earrings happily. Even if you are incredibly careful about hygiene, your kids’ ears could have an allergic reaction to the type of metal the earrings are made from. It is important to be guided by the professional piercing the ears. Medical experts stress that only 9ct gold earrings are used. These are more expensive, but will minimise the chance of infection, inflammation and allergies. Once your child is much older, you may be able to experiment with other metals.
In a small number of cases, children can be allergic to the piercing itself. Your GP will advise how to treat the allergy and will recommend that the earrings are removed.
If you are considering having your baby’s ears pierced before they are six months old, it is best to check with your paediatrician first. They are unlikely to agree, in case an infection develops in the ear piercings – a younger baby finds it much harder to fight a fever and they can become serious ill, very quickly.
Pierced earrings are not allowed in many school for safety reasons and even if they are, they must be removed or covered for sports sessions.
Ensure that you give the piercings the very best aftercare. You will be told how often you must turn the earrings (with well- washed hands) and also how to clean both the piercings and the earrings. It really is important that you do exactly as instructed to avoid any chance of infection.
Be aware of the choking hazard. Earrings like all jewellery worn by babies and toddlers represents a choking hazard should they become loose. Regularly check that the earrings are securely in place.
Only use small stud earrings to minimise the chance of them getting caught on your kids’ clothing or on your clothing when you are enjoying a cuddle.
If you are undecided about the right age, why not opt for 12 years so that your child can make their own decision and take care of the aftercare of the piercings themselves?It is important to appreciate that if you are planning to have your kids’ ears pierced, it does come with some risks. Don’t have the piercings done on a whim, but think about your decision carefully beforehand and be really diligent in following the aftercare advice to prevent infection at all costs.