Do’s and don’ts of ear piercing for kids
Everyone will remember that time when their friends started talking about getting their ears pierced. Negotiations started and suddenly, all the Mums in the area were bombarded with incessant pleading and begging. Granny’s old clip-ons were polished off and worn till our ears turned purple and diamante stickers were no longer used for crafting but found a new position on ear lobes instead!
And then, one by one, our friends would walk into the classroom on Monday morning with sparkly new earrings and a new air of sophistication!
If you’re like many of us at Hoskings Jewellers, we’re wondering how we suddenly became old enough that our kids have also started nagging us to get their ears pierced!
And so, it’s our turn to hear the pleads of “Mum, can I get my ears pierced pleeeeassseee?” So, as with any decision when it comes to our kids, we needed to check out the do’s and ‘don’ts of ear-piercing for kids.
That’s why we’ve researched when the best time is to get our children’s ears pierced. Where to take them to get their ears pierced safely? And of course, which pieces in our wonderful collection of kids jewellery and earrings will suit them best? And because we’ve already considered all the do’s and don’ts, we’re sharing the answers to these questions, and more, right here.
When is the best time to have your child’s ears pierced?
In some cultures, families will pierce a child’s ears when they’re a baby. In Brazil, for example, a baby girl will usually have her ears pierced in the hospital only days after birth. In Australia however, it’s more common for parents to wait to get their child’s ears pierced with child-safe earrings when they’re school aged. Some will go earlier and some wait even longer until a child is able to care for the piercing themselves, usually when they’re a pre-teen or teenager.
Once you’ve read some of the do’s and don’ts of getting your child’s ear’s pierced, you can make a decision on when is the best time to get your child’s ears pierced.
What to consider before getting your child’s ears pierced
Maintaining good hygiene is very important in the first 6 weeks after a piercing. If your child is too young to understand that they can’t touch their ears, then it might be better to wait until they know not to touch!
If your child is older, then it’s worthwhile considering whether their activities require them to remove their earrings in that first couple of months. For example, if your son or daughter plays netball, it’s best to wait until off-season to get their ears pierced.
How to know if your child is ready to have their ears pierced?
If your child has already started asking to have their ears pierced, then it’s a good idea to ask them how much they really know about piercing. It’s important that they know they’ll experience some temporary discomfort during and for a little while after the piercing. You also need to make sure they understand how important it is to take good care of their newly pierced ears.
We think it’s worth setting some ground rules about how they can help care for them. If you think they’ll struggle to look after them without a lot of assistance, then it might be best to wait.
Does ear piercing hurt children?
Children usually tolerate ear piercing very well. Most kids describe it as a feeling of ‘pinching’ or a little ‘sting’. Some piercing professionals will put some local anaesthetic cream on the area before they do the piercing to minimise the discomfort, but most children don’t need that as the piercing is over so quickly. After the initial sting they can experience some heat and some throbbing but even that doesn’t usually last very long.
It’s a good idea to bring something with you to the piercing appointment to distract your child during the piercing, or to give them immediately afterwards. Perhaps their favourite toy, a lolly, or even a promise to take them for a little treat afterwards.
Where is the best place to have your child’s ears pierced?
It’s essential that to know that your child is in safe hands when you take them for their ear piercing. That’s why we urge all parents to do their research before getting their child’s ears pierced. Ask your friends where they got their piercings done and if they had a good experience. Or you can look up the local salons that offer ear piercing and check out their reviews online.
If you think your child would prefer to have both ears pierced simultaneously, you can call the salon in advance and ask if they offer a ‘double operator’ service. This is sometimes easier, especially if your child is nervous about experiencing discomfort.
Then when you arrive at the salon, it’s important that you feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Make sure that the equipment they use is clean and sterile and the person doing the piercing washes their hands and wears disposable gloves. You should be able to choose appropriate child-safe earrings and approve the placement of the earrings, and of course, receive thorough after-care advice.
Should I choose to get my child’s ear piercing with a gun or needle?
Each ear-piercing studio will have a preferred way of piercing. If the practitioner is trained and the equipment is sterile, piercing with a gun or needle are both very effective.
When using a needle, a single use sterile needle is pushed through the ear lobe and then the earring is placed in the hole.
The gun method of piercing works by pushing a stud earring with a pointed end into the ear lobe. Some people feel that the gun method is faster and therefore less traumatic for kids, however with an experienced piercing professional, a needle piercing is usually just as quick.
How to choose your child’s first pair of earrings
This is the fun bit! Most ear-piercing studios and jewellery stores will have several recommended earrings for your child to choose from for their first pair of earrings. Of course, it’s important that your child gets to choose a pair that they like, but there are a few other things to consider.
The first consideration is to choose a metal that won’t irritate your child’s ears. As many people are sensitive to nickel or alloys, it’s best to choose a hypo-allergenic metal like gold, stainless steel, sterling silver or titanium.
Because your child will be wearing these earrings for at least six weeks without removing them, it's also important to choose earrings that are easy to wear. Therefore, try to avoid anything too large or dangling. Small studs are recommended as they’re less likely to get caught in clothes and are more comfortable to sleep with. These 4mm sterling silver ball studs are perfect for everyday wear.
You can also choose your child's birthstone or a gemstone to add a little more colour or sparkle. These highly polished sterling silver stud earrings with round sapphire colour Swarovski crystal stones are perfect for a September baby!
If your child has their heart set on something a little different, then these sparkly heart shaped pink cubic zirconia studs will delight them. Or these adorable sterling silver cupcake studs with coloured enamel are sure to impress a special little sweet tooth.
How to care for your child’s pierced ears
The first six to eight weeks after piercing is key to healing. During these first weeks, it’s advised to avoid touching the pierced area and follow the cleaning instructions given to you by your piercing professional. Usually, that means spraying the front and back of the piercing with a mild antiseptic spray twice a day.
It's also important to keep your child’s sheets and pillows clean. Keeping everything clean will help avoid your child getting an infected ear piercing. Encouraging them to sleep on their back is ideal, but they can also use a U-shaped travel neck pillow to help keep the pressure off their ears while they sleep on their sides.
It’s worth noting that this advice is valid for children’s ear lobes. Piercing a different area, especially if the piercing is through cartilage, will have a longer recovery time.
What not to do after your child’s ear piercing
As well as avoiding touching the piercing, speak to your child about being careful when getting dressed and drying their hair with towels. That bumping or accidentally pulling the earring might lead to “piercing bumps” which, if not looked after, can lead to long-term scarring.
Your child should avoid swimming for the first couple of weeks after the piercing. If they can’t avoid the pool or beach, then try to cover the piercing with a waterproof band-aid and spray with the cleaning/ antiseptic solution afterwards.
Even if your child is tempted to change earrings, it’s recommended that you leave the original earrings in place for at least 2 months until the piercing is fully healed. After that, it’s ok to remove the earrings for a short time to change them over, but just make sure you try to insert the new earrings as quickly as possible as otherwise the piercing may begin to shrink.
It’s best to use the cleaning spray that’s been recommended by your piercing professional. Don’t use other strong disinfectants like Dettol or Betadine, or even natural products like tea-tree. These are likely to irritate the piercing and slow down healing.
If you’ve removed your child’s earring for some time and are finding it difficult to get the earring back into the pierced hole, please don’t force the earring. Instead, take your child (and the earrings and cleaning spray) back into the salon for their assistance.
What to do if your child has a problem with their new ear piercing
It’s quite normal for there to a little bit of oozing in the first few days after the piercing. Don’t be tempted to rub it away. It will usually wash away while they’re in the shower or when the cleaning spray is used regularly. If it starts to ooze a thick yellow/green colour, then it may be infected, and you’ll need to take your child to a doctor.
Likewise, a small amount of swelling is also normal. If it looks like it’s getting very red or so swollen that the earring is sinking/disappearing into the skin, then please take your child to see your doctor as soon as possible.
There should not be any significant pain in your child’s ears for more than an hour or two after the piercing, though it’s common for them to feel sensitive to touch for a few days. If your child complains that their ears very sore, it’s best to see your doctor to make sure everything’s ok.
Buying earring gifts for your child
One of the very best things about having your child’s ears pierced is that you will never run out of ideas for gifts again! Hoskings has a wonderful range of jewellery for children, and you can browse all of our children’s earrings here. Then as they get older, there’s a whole lot more stunning earrings to choose from right here! And while you’re browsing, you might just find something beautiful for yourself! Go on, you know you deserve it!
A quick summary of the do’s and don’ts of ear piercing for kids
- Make sure your child is ready for ear piercing. They should be old enough to understand that they can’t touch the new earrings and must be happy to keep them clean.
- Schedule your child’s ear piercing for a time when they can leave them in their ears (without removing/covering them) for at least 6 weeks. And avoid swimming if possible.
- Book your child’s ear piercing with a reputable and trusted professional.
- Prepare your child for a little discomfort and bring along something to distract them.
- Piercing with a gun or needle gives the same results if it’s being done by a professional.
- Choose good quality, non-allergenic metals for your child’s first earrings. View our range here: Children’s jewellery.
- Stick to the recommended care instructions and after-care products to keep your child’s ears clean.
- If there’s a lot of swelling, redness, oozing or pain, take your child to the doctor to make sure the piercings are not infected.
- Enjoy the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” your child will hear when they show off their beautiful new earrings!
If you have any questions about which of our earrings are best for your child’s first earrings, please visit us at your nearest store, or call our friendly Customer Service Team on the numbers below.
Call 1800 819 796 in VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS. Or (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by Niamh Hislop
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Image 2 yourteenmag.com
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