Getting Babies’ Ears Pierced - What You Need to Know
Posted on 24 September 2017
Getting babies’ ears pierced can be a controversial topic. For some parents, they may see it as a way of getting a painful experience over with at a young age so their child won’t remember when they’re older, while others may prefer to have their child wait until they are old enough to make their own decision about ear piercing. Many cultures consider piercing babies’ ears to be customary, and others may shun the idea of piercing ears at such a young age.
Whether you’re for or against piercing your baby’s ears, there are many things you should take into consideration before you should make this decision.
Getting Babies’ Ears Pierced: Things to Consider
When Can I Pierce My Baby's Ears?
There is no “appropriate age” for piercing your baby’s ears, as this varies across cultures. For many Latin American parents, newborn ear piercing is common. And although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children get their ears pierced when they are able to take care of the piercing themselves, there doesn’t seem to be much harm in piercing children’s ears at such a young age.
For specific information on the best age to get your baby’s ears pierced, it’s best to ask your doctor. He or she may recommend waiting until your baby gets their first round of vaccines to strengthen his or her immune system.
Types of Baby Piercing Earrings
Make sure that the earrings you choose for your baby’s first earrings are appropriate for infants. This means taking things like material, size, and design into consideration.
- Material: Use earrings made of 14k gold or 925 sterling silver to minimize the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
- Construction: The earrings you select for your baby should be durable and child-resistant. Look for baby earrings with safety screw backs, as these are more difficult for a child to remove.
- Size: Baby earrings should be appropriately sized for infants, as kid and adult sized earrings may be too large.
Complications & Risks
Ear piercing is a form of body modification and as such comes with its own set of risks.
- Infection - Babies’ immune systems are not as strong as those of older children and adults, so they are more susceptible to infections.
- Allergies - Infants may develop an allergic reaction to the metals used in earrings. For this reason, it’s wise to look for earrings that are hypoallergenic. Be wary of any rash or swelling that may occur after the ear piercing procedure and notify your doctor immediately, as this could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
- Choking - Earrings may present a choking hazard to your baby. This risk can be reduced if you choose safety back earrings that are difficult for your child to remove.
- Tearing of earlobe - It is best to avoid dangling or hoop earrings as these can increase the risk of your child tearing his or her earlobe.
Where to Get Babies’ Ears Pierced
Make sure you get your baby’s ears pierced by someone who has experience with infants. Oftentimes, the best place to find a proper piercer is through your doctor. Some doctors will even offer to do the piercing themselves.
Be aware that many commercial ear piercers in shopping malls use piercing guns instead of needles to pierce ears. These are much too harsh for infants and are not suitable for baby ear piercing. Additionally, piercing guns are not sterilized and can present a risk of infection to your baby. Look for a reputable ear piercer who uses sterilized needles and has experience working with infants.
The actual piercing procedure is very quick, but keep in mind your baby will cry during and after. However, this pain is minimal and is comparable to getting a shot. To ease the pain, you can give your child a small amount of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (with your doctor’s permission).
The piercer will use a sterilized needle to pierce each ear. Afterwards, they will clean the pierced area and insert the earrings of your choice into your child’s ears.
How to Care for Baby’s Pierced Ears
Proper aftercare is essential for the healing process. Your child may start touching his or her ears after they’re pierced, which can increase the risk of infection. Makes sure you follow basic aftercare instructions and gently clean your baby’s earlobes with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol several times a day (after washing your hands, of course!) . You’ll also want to gently rotate the earrings periodically per your doctor’s instructions.
Most piercers will recommend that you keep the earrings in for 6-8 weeks. When you’re ready to swap them out for a new pair, be sure to keep up with good cleaning habits and use earrings made of hypoallergenic materials such as sterling silver, 14K gold or surgical steel to prevent allergic reactions.
Getting Babies’ Ears Pierced: Next Steps
Piercing your baby’s ears is a personal decision, and something that you should not take lightly. Consider all the important safety factors and find a reputable piercer before making an appointment, and stay in touch with your doctor to discuss any potential risks that are specific to your child.
When you’re ready to shop for your baby, hop over to InSeasonJewelry.com to browse our collections of baby earrings and other baby jewelry. We offer a variety of baby earring styles in sterling silver, solid gold and much more.