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Piercing Your Child’s Ears: a Beginner’s Guide

As a mother, it is always fun to watch your kids grow up and go through different rites of passage. This includes piercing their ears for the first time - whether they're an infant or 12 years old when they get it done. But of course, there are risks involved when it comes to making your child’s ears sparkle. So here we have compiled a beginner’s guide to everything you need to know before piercing your child's ears for the first time.

What is an appropriate age to get them done?
It is important to remember that while jewelery can add a bit of pizazz to any outfit, it is always a risk when puncturing the skin, so make sure they are at least six months old.There is always the alternative of waiting for them to make the decision when they are older, around 10 years, which can also be helpful in having them handle the aftercare themselves. And always, make sure to get clearance from your doctor before making the piercing appointment.

Is a piercing gun okay?
When it comes to piercings of any kind, mothers have two options; going to a kiosk in the mall, or heading to a piercing shop. Kiosks in the mall typically pierce ears with a piercing gun, and traditional piercing shops use a needle. Both are safe for a lobe piercing, but most piercers recommend a needle over a piercing gun. Consider asking your pediatrician or other parents who have taken their children for piercings for piercer recommendations if you don’t know where to start looking.

What kind of jewelry is okay to use?
Generally speaking, surgical steel and 14 karat gold are the recommended metals to use in children’s ears. We also recommend using small posts without any gems or sparkles, to cut down on choking hazards.

Is there anything I can do to make the piercing any less painful?
The good thing is, since you are only piercing their earlobe (for now, anyways!), there won’t be a lot of pain because it's mostly just fatty tissue. However, there are some things you can do to make the experience less painful and traumatic over all. Firstly, do not mention even the possibility of pain. If you do so, they may get scared and overreact. Secondly, apply some topical numbing cream and/or ice about 30 minutes before the appointment as a way to delay the shock of the needle piercing the skin. Thirdly, use a treat as motivation, for example if they sit bravely, they can to ice cream directly afterwards.

How do I care for the piercings?
Earring aftercare is pretty easy. It is critical to keep them clean, especially within the first couple of weeks. Once or twice a day, clean your hands thoroughly, twist the earrings and move them around in your child’s ear, and use either a prepackaged saline solution or a mixture of sea salt and filtered water to clean the hole. If your child is older, make sure they don’t sweat or swim for the first few weeks to keep the hole as clean as possible. In addition, keep perfumes, sprays, and lotions as far away from the wound as possible. If you can, pull your child’s hair back so their ears can breathe.

It is also important to keep the first set of earrings in for at least six weeks, and ensure that once they have been changed, your child keeps a stud in them for at least six months so the piercing can heal fully.

How will I know if it becomes infected?
Common symptoms of an ear infection include being red, itchy, swollen, having discharge, and being tender to the touch. However, it’s always a good idea to head to the doctor when this happens because this could mean your child is allergic to the metal. In most cases, changing the earrings will help solve this problem, but you won’t know for sure until a doctor has taken a good look.

Piercing an ear can be a fun moment for you to share with your child, as long as you do it safely and properly. Just follow these tips and you’ll be all set -- so get to shopping for those earrings, mom!


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