Should children get their ears pierced?
If a child is old enough to fully understand and consent to get their ear pierced then it is acceptable to allow your child to have a lobe piercing. However, if your child is too young to give consent over their body or expresses that they do not want to get a piercing, whether it is purely personal preference or fear of the piercing process, then they should not be made to have their ears pierced, even if it is part of their cultural heritage. Taking the time to sit down and explain ear piercings to your child may help them to come to their own decision about whether they wish to participate in this age-old tradition of having children’s ear lobes pierced.
What is the best age to pierce a child’s ears?
At Blue Banana, we believe children aged 8 and up are ready to have their ears pierced as they are able to understand and give consent to have this body modification. While ear lobe piercing is very popular and is the most common piercing to have, especially as a first piercing, it is still a body modification as it requires a permanent hole in the body.
Allowing a baby’s body to develop before giving them an ear piercing may help with healing and aftercare. At age 8 and over, your child will be able to take an active part in the aftercare of their ears and can understand that is important not to play with their new piercing or sleep on it. None of this can be explained to a baby or infant and the consequences of a baby getting an infection from their ear piercing can be much more serious than a small infection in a child ear piercing. While for a child, it may be a case of a course of antibiotics from the doctor; a baby, as a matter of precaution, could be hospitalised for an infection if it causes a fever.
Another reason Blue Banana elects to only pierce children aged 8 and over is that younger children may not want to have their second ear pierced after experiencing the first piercing. This means they will have to return at a later date and have already built up a fear of piercing at a very young age or the piercing is ultimately taken out and healed over. It is much better for the child to decide when they are ready to get a piercing and to learn from a young age that they have the final say on what happens to their body to set them up for their teen and adult years.
Ask yourself a few simple questions to determine if your child is ready to have their ears pierced:
- How often do they ask or talk about ear piercing without being prompted?
- Do they ever express doubts about getting their ears pierced?
- Are they willing to take on the responsibility of cleaning their own piercings?
- Are you confident that they will have the willpower to not touch their new piercings?
- What is your assessment of your child’s pain tolerance?
- How does your child handle situations that make them nervous?
- Do they understand that they will need to wear earrings all the time while their piercings are healing?
- Do they get annoyed with other accessories such as watches, bracelets, or necklaces?
How to prepare a child for ear piercing?
Having a conversation with your child that is honest and open will help prepare your child for ear piercing. Let them know that they will feel a pinch that will be briefly painful and that they will need to take care of their new piercings after having them done. If your child is nervous about having their ears pierced but has been repeatedly asking to have them done then you can always take them to another activity near your local piercing studio such as for a shopping trip or meal out and then ask them while you are out if they would like to get their ears pierced as this will reduce the amount of time that nerves will be building up. You can make it fun by allowing them to choose their piercing jewellery and give them a treat afterward such as a nice drink or something to eat. This can also serve as a way to calm down and process after the adrenaline kick of having the piercing done. If you have your own piercings you may be able to reassure them by talking about your experience.
Which method is best for ear piercing for kids?
Needle piercing is the safest form of ear piercing for kids. This method is quick, quiet, and causes the least amount of trauma to the piercing site. While piercing with a gun can seem like a tempting option for children’s ears because some services will pierce both ears at the same time, it is loud and more painful. It may also take the piercings longer to heal afterward as the gun method forces the piercing jewellery through the ear. In contrast, the piercing needle makes a neat hole using an instrument that is specifically designed for the job and then the piercing jewellery can be inserted with no noise and no fuss. For more information about needle piercing, please see our full article.
Always make sure to go to a reputable piercer such as Blue Banana with certificates to prove that the environment is hygienic, the equipment is sterile, and the piercers have completed training. Blue Banana uses single-use equipment and fully sanitises the piercing studio after each customer. The piercers allow you to take your time and will answer any questions you may have before you begin.
While piercings are largely unmonitored, there are a few laws in place to help protect children and teenagers when they are deciding on body modifications. For example, in Wales certain piercings that are classed as intimate piercings can only be performed on a person over the age of 18 as parental consent is not accepted. Other types of piercings can only be performed on people over the age of 16 which takes into account other general laws and the development of the body. For more information about piercing laws and Blue Banana's piercing policy, please see here.
We love to teach children from a young age that they can decide what happens to their own bodies by only piercing the child’s ears if they are consenting and are not in distress. Well done Adam for spreading such an important message about the appropriate age for ear piercing! We are so lucky to have such amazing piercers in the Blue Banana community.