Has your child decided that they’re ready to get their ears pierced?
This is a big decision. While some cultures choose to pierce babies as infants, it’s more common now to let children make their own decisions. Modification is a big commitment!
Ear piercings for kids are common. They’re relatively safe and simple, and they look cute on any child. But how much do you know about them?
If you’re a worried parent, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn all about getting your child’s ears pierced.
When Is It Time?
If you’re making the choice to wait until your child is older to get their ears pierced, you’re being a responsible parent. Many good piercers will refuse to pierce a baby’s ears, and for good reason.
Babies aren’t capable of letting you know exactly what’s wrong. You might miss irritation or swelling because the baby can’t tell you about it. Waiting until a child is older gives them autonomy and allows them to consent to having their body modified.
For this reason, most good piercers ask that you wait until a child is old enough to walk up to the counter and ask for the piercing themself, as well as choose their own jewelry.
This often starts around age 5, but it will vary depending on the child. If you take your child to a studio and they say the child is too young, don’t disregard this advice.
An older child is able to take care of their piercings and is more likely to be happy with the results.
Where Should We Go for Ear Piercings for Kids?
Many parents make the mistake of taking their children to a pharmacy, or worse, a Claire’s store to get ear piercings. This is the worst choice aside from doing it at home.
These places hire untrained staff who aren’t experts in body piercings. They use unsanitary and dull piercing “guns” instead of needles, which makes the process more painful and less precise.
When you take your child somewhere that uses a piercing gun, you’re setting them up for an unsuccessful healing process and uneven piercings. They deserve better!
Instead, take your child to a piercing shop. Not all piercing shops are tattoo shops, but many are. Make sure that you’re going to someone who uses high-quality jewelry and who pays a lot of attention to hygiene standards.
The Association of Professional Piercers is a great place to start. Not all good piercers are APP members, but you know that APP members hold themselves to a higher standard.
If you have pre-existing ideas of what tattoo shops are like, try to drop them. Tattoo shops with good piercers often look more like high-end jewelry stores, and their piercers are trained for piercing children’s ears.
What Can My Child Get?
If this is your child’s first piercing, it’s likely that you’re going for lobes. Lobes are the fleshy parts of your ears that hang at the bottom.
Young children are often only able to get lobes. They can get several piercings in each lobe if they have space, but this is anatomy-dependent. Some people can fit up to four while others are limited to one or two.
Children who are responsible and careful with their lobe piercings may have more options next time they visit the piercer, but this depends on the piercer’s comfort level and the child.
Some shops only allow lobe piercings for people who are under the age of 13 while others are more flexible.
If your child is a pre-teen, they may be able to get other ear piercings. These piercings are often harder to heal because they’re in the cartilage.
The most common piercing after a lobe piercing is a helix. It sits higher up on the ear.
When your child gets their ears pierced initially, they won’t have many options. Any good piercer will have implant-grade titanium with internal threading or no threading at all. They will often have colorful gems for the child to choose from.
This jewelry needs to be oversized to allow room for swelling and it shouldn’t be a ring.
Listen to the piercer’s instructions when it comes to the jewelry. They will tell you when it’s time for you to downsize the jewelry.
When it’s time to change your jewelry, you have options. Piercers will have plenty of the best earrings to choose from, and you want to make sure that you pick something that won’t irritate your child’s skin.
You want to avoid nickel. Unless otherwise stated, anything labeled “surgical steel” is likely to have nickel in it. Nickel is a common allergen, so it isn’t good for healing piercings.
Implant-grade titanium, niobium, and 14k gold are almost hypoallergenic. When you’re looking for “fun” earrings for special events, consider some from www.bodypiercejewelry.com.
Aftercare is crucial, even for childhood ear piercings.
First, you absolutely do not want to spin the earrings. This is outdated and dangerous advice. If you’re using good jewelry, the skin will not “stick” to the earrings.
The “stickiness” comes from lymph fluid, which is necessary for healing. By spinning the earrings, you’re not allowing the wound to heal. You’re damaging the piercing and risking future problems.
To remove “crusties” from blood or lymph, it’s a good idea to use a syringe of water, or the shower, to brush them away.
Don’t use anything harsh like alcohol or peroxide. All good piercers will carry a saline solution. This is the only thing that you should use unless otherwise directed.
Make sure that your child doesn’t touch the earrings and don’t take them out at all until they’re finished healing.
Is It Time for a Piercing?
Ear piercings for kids are cute and fashionable, but they’re still piercings. They’re body modifications, and you need to treat them as such.
Don’t try to save money and time by going to a place that uses piercing guns. Go to a high-quality shop with professional piercers to show your child what a good piercing experience looks like!
Use the right ear piercing care and your child will have healthy piercings for life.
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