When Can I Get My Baby’S Ears Pierced
You can consult with your pediatrician on whether to pierce your baby’s ears, but many recommend that your baby is at least three months old. Some people pierce their kids’ ears during infancy while others will wait until the child is mature enough to take care of the piercing site.
Your little one has just emerged from her warm and cozy cocoon in the womb and you’re finally ready for a whole new life outside it. The first thing you notice about your newborn is how beautiful she looks — her tiny nose, soft pink lips, closed eyes and delicate fingers and toes. And then there are those ears. They look like perfectly formed teacups sitting atop small, oval-shaped heads. You want to touch them, caress them and kiss them all over. But wait! Before you do any of these things, you have to decide if they should be pierced.
It’s not an easy decision. Many parents choose to leave their babies’ ears untouched because they don’t think piercings are safe or necessary before age 3. Others say that earrings help stimulate language development among young children who wear them. Still other parents believe that ear piercings are more than skin deep, so why put yourself through needless pain? There are even some people who say that earlobes aren’t suitable sites for earring insertion. Whatever the reason, most agree that ear piercing isn’t simply cosmetic surgery. It involves serious surgical procedures and risks. Ear piercings are performed under general anesthesia, which means that you’ll need to spend time recovering in the hospital. In addition, ear piercings carry the risk of infection, bleeding, scar tissue and nerve damage. If you decide to go ahead with it, make sure you’ve done adequate research, consulted with your doctor and taken precautions to prevent complications.
The bottom line is that you can consult with your pediatrician on whether to pierce your baby’s ears, but many recommend that your baby is at least three months old. Most experts advise waiting until the child is mature enough to take care of the piercing site. This usually happens around ages 4 or 5. Until then, you may wish to consider getting your child used to wearing jewelry by having him try out different styles as he grows older.
If you decide to get your kid’s ears pierced, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
Be aware of local laws regarding ear piercing. Some states have specific guidelines regarding when infants can be pierced. Check with your state health department or city licensing board for information on what they require.
Make sure your child understands the potential dangers involved. Discuss the process thoroughly, including where the needle will be placed, what type of anesthesia will be used and what to expect afterward. Also, explain that ear piercing won’t happen overnight; it might take several visits. Make sure your child knows that ear jewelry shouldn’t be worn during sleep.
Don’t rush into the procedure. Take your time and talk to your pediatrician about the pros and cons of piercing vs. clip-on earrings.
Avoid using “ear cleaning” solutions, especially those containing hydrogen peroxide. These products may weaken the healing process.
After the piercing, use antibiotic ointment and petroleum jelly to protect against infection and dryness. Apply a topical cream to reduce inflammation and encourage faster healing.
Use caution when removing earrings. Don’t yank too hard or pull off suddenly. Instead, gently slide them out. Remember to wash your hands after handling earrings.
Take extra precautionary measures to avoid injury. Never apply glue directly to the incision site. Use tape instead. Keep nails short, and never poke or scrape a piercing wound.
Get your child used to wearing earrings gradually. Start with simple studs and move up to larger hoops later.
For those interested in learning more about this topic, we suggest checking out some additional resources on the next page.
Ear piercing may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. With proper planning and informed consent, you and your child can enjoy the benefits of earrings without putting yourself at unnecessary risk. For further information, visit the Web sites listed below.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
National Association of Children’s Parents (NACP)
Safe Kids Worldwide [http://www.safekiddeworldwide.org]
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – CPSC
World Health Organization – WHO
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of Children’s Parents, Safe Kids Worldwide, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – CPSC, World Health Organization – WHO
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