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It is common for adults to have piercings and tattoos, but it is a little bit different when it comes to children and infants. People who have had many piercings and tattoos in the past could feel that it is not a good idea to pierce an infant's ears.

Although the advisor's experiences worked for them, the children and babies in question are clearly very sensitive. In fact, some of them might have allergic problems. That is why, when you decide to have your child pierced, you should discuss or think about each problem you could be faced with.

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Cons Of Infant Ear Piercing

First, you should know that gold is not the best metal to use, as many people have allergic reactions to it. Stainless steel is best for piercings because stainless steel is hypoallergenic. [1] It is also non-porous and smooth, unlike gold, so detritus does not stick as vigorously, and it is easier to keep the earring clean. Hoops are the best shape, as they slide easier than other types of earrings, and you can move them around. However, hoop earrings or dangling earrings are not the best choice for a baby or a young child because they or another child could easily pull them during play and damage their ears, or they could get caught in clothing or on objects and tear the ear lobe.

If you decide to pierce your baby's ears, please choose either stud earrings with push on backings or screw back earrings with threaded posts. 

As for cleaning the piercing, alcohol is too harsh for new piercings but obviously, many people do fine with it. However, for those with tender, sensitive skin, particularly with a fresh wound, alcohol is too caustic and drying, and can thus hinder the healing process as well as cause additional irritation problems. You can use saline solution instead of alcohol to disinfect the piercing wound. [2]

There are specific piercing products recommend. The use of piercing guns, such as those usually used at Beadazzled, is entirely antiquated, even condemned by the piercing community. A piercing gun causes a different type of wound than piercing needles do, and the piercing can take much longer to heal. 

A gun is a poor option because it is very tight against the swollen earlobe, and the shaft is ridged creating a great place for pus and scabs to accumulate. [2] Resulting piercings are hard to turn, and even when they are turned, they often pull away from the healing scabs, leaving newly exposed raw areas. Therefore the healing process takes longer. [3

Moreover, you must know that piercing at home is a bad idea. There is no way for the needle of the novice piercer to become as sterile as it must be for optimum healing that the human organism needs. If we factor in an infant’s sensitivity, piercing your baby's ear at home could be disastrous.

Lastly, reputable piercing parlors are found all over the place, and they do not charge too much. This makes alternatives obsolete and dangerous. Therefore, it is recommended to have all piercings done by a professional. You should find one who has the sterile equipment, handles the piercing process with gloves and most of all has years of experience.

However, maybe the best option is to wait. There are many reasons for that, and one of them is tetanus. Even though the disease is not very common thanks to immunizations, tetanus bacteria are everywhere. These bacteria usually enter the body through puncture wounds. Most medical professionals prefer that a baby has at least one, preferably two tetanus shots her before her big piercing day. Some would put the event at 3-5 months old for most kids, and also babies are better at handling the more common minor skin infections they might get once they are more than three months old. [4]

Ear Piercing And Infection

Women, children and even men have worn earrings dating back to ancient times and ear piercing used to be considered a rite of passage into adulthood. However, we now see young children and even babies with pierced ears.  Even if it is quite common to see infants with earrings, there are some health issues parents should consider before proceeding with the piercing of their baby’s ears. 

The primary concern is the possibility of infection. A renowned expert who follows aseptic procedures should perform the piercing. The piercer should wear gloves, use sterilize equipment, and use alcohol or another antiseptic on the skin. 

Earring posts should be hypo-allergenic stainless steel or gold to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction, which could also lead to infection. The initial posts should stay in place for about six weeks, and you should clean the pierced area of the ear — front and back — with alcohol, or even better a saline solution at least once a day during this time. You should try to keep the baby’s hands away from her newly pierced ears to avoid complications.

Second to infections, it is very important that you do not pierce the ears before infants have completed their DPT shots as we have already mentioned before. Babies should only wear stud earrings or earrings that lie close to the skin because hoops or dangling earrings can get caught in clothing or on objects and tear the ear lobe. Children are also much more prone to play with and pull on dangling earrings, so avoid those. With any earring, parents should make sure the back of the earring is secure and does not become loose or fall off, creating the risk of the baby swallowing the jewelry and further life-threatening complications. [4]

Older children may confront parents because they not only want to pierce their earlobes but the cartilage on the outer ear as well. It is recommended to avoid this, since cartilage is easily injured, easily infected, and has such poor blood supply that it will heal very poorly. There are known instances where cartilage piercings have lead to severe infection and ultimate disfiguration of the ear itself as side effects. Some people, regardless of age, are prone to form keloids, which are scar tissue-like growths. Keloids can occur after tissue injury and become large, unsightly growths that are difficult to correct. If there is any family history of keloid formation, it is advisable not to pierce your infant’s ears until your child is much older, a teenager or young adult.

Other complications that can arise from ear piercings are: 

  • Pyogenic granuloma
  • Impetigo
  • Cellulitis
  • Keloid tumors, as already mentioned. [5
It makes good sense not to pierce your child’s ear until he or she is old enough to make the personal decision herself.

In our society, ear piercing is considered a fashion statement and is popular among both boys and girls, as well as among men and women. If you're considering ear piercing for your child as an option, you should discuss the pros and cons with your child once she is old enough to prevent regretful decisions. You could also discuss it with your physician and make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent infection or injury.  There is no reason to risk a serious health problem for a cosmetic effect. Some people pierce their children’s ears while they are still newborns if there is no medical reason to wait, but the procedure is not without risks because not all ear-piercing studios have the proper equipment or staff trained to work specifically with young children. For example, some ear piercing guns cannot be sterilized, and you should avoid these by all means, because they may pose a risk of hepatitis or some other severe infection. If you wish to have your infant’s ears pierced, you could even ask your pediatrician if she would do it for you with a needle.

Ear piercing is usually done without painkillers because the piercing itself hurts less than a shot of anesthetic would.

However, you can give your baby a dose of infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the procedure if you want. Another thing to remember is that your child will constantly be touching her ears and the pierced area. This is why it can easily become infected. To help guard against this, you will need to clean the posts and the area around the ear with saline solution several times a day. You could clean it as often as your doctor recommends though.

Watch for increased redness or tenderness around the piercing hole and on the earlobe that could indicate an infection of your infant’s ear. There is also a chance that your child will have an allergic reaction to metal, which is a common problem after someone gets their ears pierced.

If your infant develops a rash around the piercing, you will need to take the earrings out. To avoid this, you can try to make sure that the parts of the earrings that touch her ear are made of surgical steel or 14 karat gold, and this includes not only the posts but the backs as well. If the rash does not subside, your child will probably not be able to wear earrings.

It is also a common problem that babies rip one earring out of the ear during the night. After that, the hole seems a little black and blue so you might find it hard to put her earrings back in.

Pros Of Infant Ear Piercing

Although you might find it scary, it is most often that a child’s ear piercing is worth the hassle. Your child would have nice earrings, but in any case, each parent should check what is most important for them and their child first. Is it better to look beautiful or to be sure there will be no side effects after you decide to have your infant’s ears pierced? You could find it useful to read more about the anatomy of the ear and local nerves. Maybe you would also like to hear more about ear piercing instruments of modern design.

It is interesting that until the rise of the professional body piercing industry in the early 1990s, most piercings were performed either with guns, at home, or by medical professionals. Before the advent of piercing instruments, most piercings have been done using a sharp implement, such as a needle or a blade, which was used to make an entry through which piercer placed the jewelry. In Western culture, visiting a mall store to get an ear piercing is a common experience for both girls and boys. Amongst body modification and body piercing enthusiasts and professionals, there is a strong bias against the use of mechanical piercing instruments, although body piercers generally operate their businesses on much higher standards of sterility. They usually have more experience or training than the intended users of piercing instruments. A commonly seen sticker in body piercing circles is a red circle with a line crossing out the silhouette of a piercing gun so when legal regulation is placed upon the body piercing industry, exemptions are usually made for these devices or the businesses that use them.