• Dr Andy Raffles

Ear Piercing and your child

Updated: Feb 12

If you wish to have your baby's ears pierced, it is worth considering the safety issues and the small risk of infection. With these in mind, it is better to wait until the age of four. Sharing this 'developmental milestone' with your child later might be even more enjoyable than having them pierced in the newborn period.


Infection risk

Infection is probably the most common problem encountered. You can avoid it by ensuring all piercing equipment is sterile, keeping the initial ear posts in for about 6 weeks, cleaning the ear by rubbing it with alcohol daily and making sure the clasp is not too tight. If the ear becomes red, pus forms around the site, or a fever occurs, you need to contact your doctor. The first step in treatment is to remove the ear ring and allow the hole to heal.


Keloid formation

Some children may have skin that goes 'overboard' and forms a scar or keloid at the site of the piercing, and this may leave a bump at the piercing site. If you have a family history of keloid formation, it is probably best to hold off on ear piercing.


Allergic reactions

Contact dermatitis (allergy to something that comes in contact with the skin) may occur on the earlobes of those with metal allergy. Using gold or hypo-allergenic stainless steel posts may help to avoid this problem.


Injury

Younger children tend to play with earrings. Use studs or earrings that lie flush against the skin - hoops or hanging rings increase the risk of harm.


Choking

Babies love putting things in their mouths, and earrings do not always stay in place. Breathing in an earring is the most concerning danger related to piercing.


Remember, if you do decide to go ahead with ear piercing, always ensure that you visit a reputable and licensed (for the appropriate age group) establishment.


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