What Age Should I Pierce My Child’s Ear? Looking at Ear Piercing Safety
As we have learned through previous blog posts published by Rowan professionals, decisions around ear piercing are influenced by many factors. Ear piercing practices vary throughout different areas of the world and are dependent on certain cultural practices.
One frequently asked question in our Rowan community is: “How old does my child have to be to have their ears pierced?”. As medical professionals, Rowan nurses take many factors into consideration to help ensure the best possible outcomes.
Take for example our Dr. Anwar’s blog post back in December 2019, where she talks about her own piercing experience and states “I am very appreciative to my parents for having my ears pierced when I was a baby. Firstly, I do not remember the actual scenario, but also, I love wearing earrings”. Others prefer to have their child wait until they are old enough to express their desire to have their ears pierced, and are able to care for their new piercings.
At Rowan, we do not feel there is a right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding on the “perfect age”. We do, however, want to provide you with evidenced based research that may help you feel confident in your decision.
Ear Piercing Safety
Just like with any medical procedure, ear piercing does come with its own risks. Some common adverse events associated with ear piercing include allergic reaction, foreign body, scarring, and infection (Parekh & Kokotos, 2019).
Another extremely rare, but possible risk of ear piercing is a tetanus infection. With any deep cut or wound, there is risk for tetanus to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications including, but not limited to: muscle stiffness, difficulty swallowing, and muscle spasms (Qadir & Komal, 2019). However, according to the Center for Disease Control (2015), a tetanus infection is virtually 100% preventable through the routine administration of the Dtap vaccine.
Should your child have a chronic illness or is immunocompromised, we recommend discussing ear piercing directly with your pediatrician, as your child may require an individualized plan of care.
Ear Piercing Aftercare
While the piercing itself may seem quick and easy, caring for your newly pierced ears can pose a challenge to both the guest and/or the parent. One benefit to piercing ears earlier in life is the parent being able to conduct the aftercare. Cleaning a piercing can be easily included in a bath time or diaper changing routine. Whereas piercing a tween or teen’s ear may pose more a battle. As a tween/teen strives for independence, this may lead to inadequate aftercare and may lead to infection.
Regardless of the age at which you decide to pierce your child’s ear, Rowan is here to provide quality piercing by licensed medical professionals to help promote a celebratory and memorable experience.
This content has been written by Rowan Nurse, Melissa. Melissa is a full-time pediatric nurse at a private practice in Connecticut, as well as Rowan's Clinical Nurse Coordinator. She holds a BSN from Columbia University.
Mootrey, G., Tiwari, T., & Weinbaum, C. (2015). Tetanus. In J. Hamborsky, A. Kroger, & S. Wolfe (Eds)., The pink book. (pp. 341-352). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.
Parekh, J., & Kokotos, F. (2019). Ear piercing. Pediatrics in review 40(1), 49–50. doi: 10.1542/pir.2017-0218Qadir, M.I, & Komal, T. (2019). Public awareness about tetanus. Journal of scientific and technical research, 14(4), 1–4. doi:10.26717.BJSTR.2019.14.002581