How to Manage Piercing Pain For Children

How to Manage Piercing Pain For Children

As a kid, having your ears pierced is an event that you remember for the rest of your life.  The excitement leading up to your appointment, getting to choose your jewelry, and the people who were there to celebrate with you are often fond memories that mark the experience.  For many kids, the anticipation of their first ear piercing is accompanied by thoughts of how painful it will be.  While ear piercing doesn’t cause a great amount of pain, the fear of pain can worsen the perception.  Not to worry; we are here to help!  Read on for all you need to know to help your child achieve their dream ear piercing experience with maximal comfort.


Understanding Ear Piercing Pain

Piercing involves introducing a wound into the ear.  This is done by either a hand-pressured device or a hollow-bore needle. As the tissue is being pierced, you may experience a brief pinching sensation followed by an influx of heat.  Although it is often compared to receiving an injection at the doctor’s office, having your lobes pierced is far more comfortable than being vaccinated.


Several factors influence pain perception in children:

Age: Younger children might find the pain more intense because of their heightened sensitivity.
Individual Pain Threshold: Some children naturally have a higher pain tolerance.
The method of Piercing: Some techniques are more painful than others. For instance, a needle piercing is generally considered less painful than a piercing gun (note: Rowan does not use piercing guns at any of our studios).

For more about the general process, parents can refer to this article, which provides a comprehensive guide to ear piercing for kids.

Ear Piercing Pain Management for Children 101

Managing the discomfort associated with pediatric ear piercing doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some effective techniques to consider:


Cold Compress:

Applying a cold pack can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Ensure there’s a cloth barrier between the ice and the skin to prevent frostbite.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers:

Always consult with a pediatrician, but pain relievers like acetaminophen can be effective when given in appropriate doses.

For anxious children, preparation can also be key. Consider reading this article, which offers advice on preparing a nervous child for their first ear piercing.

Tips for Soothing Children’s Ear Piercing Discomfort

Post-piercing care can significantly impact the healing process and the overall discomfort experienced. These tips can help:


Regular cleaning: 

Use your Advanced aftercare 2-3 times a day to prevent infections

Avoid touching the piercing: 

Educate children about the importance of not touching their new piercings to prevent bacteria transfer and potential infections. 

Keep long hair away from the piercing: 

Keeping hair tied back will help prevent it from getting caught in the earrings, potentially causing an infection or snagging the jewelry.

How Long Does the Pain After Ear Piercing Typically Last?

Piercing of the lobe is best described as a “pinch” with discomfort that lasts for a few seconds, followed by a dull ache and warmth in the area.  The dull pain can last for several hours to days; however, with proper care, the discomfort should diminish with each passing day.

When Should You Be Concerned About Pain or Infection After a Child’s Ear Piercing?

Post-ear piercing care is crucial. Parents should be vigilant for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, pus, or if the pain escalates after the first day. If the child develops a fever or the area around the piercing becomes hot, these could be signs of a more severe infection, and it's essential to seek medical advice immediately. Parents can also refer to this article for more information on the safety of ear piercing for very young children.


Managing pain after children’s ear piercing is a blend of preparation, understanding, and attentive aftercare.  Parents/guardians should be armed with the right knowledge and tools to ensure their children’s ear piercing experience is positive and free from complications.  

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