Ear piercing is popular in many cultures all over the world. In Hindu culture, it is believed that piercing the ears provides acupuncture benefits and protection, so both female and male babies get their ears pierced in a ceremony called Karnavedha when they are 12 days old. Some Latin Americans traditionally pierce the ears of infants as a sign of devotion to God (Ezekiel 16:10-12). Parents also pierce the ears of infants and toddler for fashion. Choosing the age acceptable for ear piercings is dependent upon a number of factors – family tradition, cultural background, and the child’s maturity all affect parental decisions. If you are considering having your little girl’s ears pierced, think about the following:
What is the risk involved?
Some physicians encourage parents to wait until an infant is as least six months old, as prior to that time, their developing immune system may open up an opportunity for infection. You also need to make sure earrings stay secure on ears and do not pose a choking hazard. No matter what your little girl’s age, recently pierced ears and the new studs must be kept clean to avoid infection.
Should I wait until she is old enough to make her own decision?
You may decide to wait until your child is old enough to want pierced ears. Around the age of ten or eleven, little girls begin caring more about their appearance, and begin wanting to wear more jewelry. Waiting for your child to be older also means she can assume responsibility for keeping her new studs and her pierced ears clean.
Where should I have my little girl’s ears pierced?
It is best to have ears pierced by an experienced professional in a sterile environment. Beware of stores that sell earrings and offer free piercing. With our combined inexperience, my daughter and I picked out earrings at a large department store and had the associate pierce her ears. The holes were not even and the studs were too tight.
You can ask other parents of little girls where they had their daughter’s ears pierced. It is a good idea to choose a place before taking your daughter. Look for a clean, professional, family friendly place that has experience piercing children’s ears.
How can a make sure my daughter’s ears heal properly and without infection?
Your little girl’s years must be cleaned a least twice a day. Her new studs should not be removed for three to six weeks. To clean your ears use a special store-bought cleaning solution. Alternatively, you can use a sea salt solution – 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt per 8 oz. water. Do not use table salt that contains iodide. Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibacterial ointment because they contain ingredients that inhibit skin cells from healing and regenerating. Always wash hands with antibacterial soap before touching earrings or ears. Until the ears heal, keep them dry, avoiding shampoos and conditioners by wearing a shower cap, and trying to stay out of swimming pools. Clean your ears after taking a bath or shower, after swimming, and anytime your ears get sweaty or dirty.
When you clean the earrings and ears, rotate the earrings two or three times to make sure the cleaning solution gets inside the piercing. Moving the earring back and forth prevents the piercing from healing too tightly around the hole.
If you daughter’s ears do become infected, you will have to let the holes close back up. Signs of infection are redness and swelling. If you experience serious symptoms – pus discharge, excessive itching, redness, and extreme pain – you can remove the earrings yourself or have the doctor remove them. Clean the infected ear by washing it with antibacterial soap, and then apply antibiotic ointment.
Deciding what age is acceptable to allow ear piercings is ultimately up to you, the parent. However, it is important to consider the risks associated with ear piercing as well as the responsibilities required to assure ears heal properly.