Is It Safe To Pierce Your Baby's Ears?

Ear piercing for babies is a hot-button issue for many parents. In some cultures, it is a tradition to pierce a baby's ears at a young age, while others think you should wait until the child is older. No matter which side of the debate you're on, the bigger question is whether or not it's physically safe to pierce your baby's ears.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, "if the piercing is performed carefully and cared for conscientiously, there is little risk, no matter what the age of the child." However, experts generally recommend not piercing until the child is able to care for the pierced area themselves.

That may leave you asking, what is the right age for ear piercing? Some doctors recommend waiting until your baby has received both of their tetanus vaccinations, which is typically around four months old (via Healthline). The biggest risk associated with ear piercing is infection, so piercing aftercare is particularly important.

How to make ear piercing safe for your baby

If you decide to pierce your child's ears, experts say you should go to a doctor or other medical professional with experience in piercing babies' ears, as opposed to a jewelry stand (via Healthy Children). Be sure the piercer uses disinfectant or rubbing alcohol to sterilize piercing equipment. Additionally, you'll also want to be aware of the quality of the earring itself. Experts suggest that gold studs reduce the chances of swelling.

Caring for the piercing is key. While many piercers recommend using rubbing alcohol to keep the area clean, due to the delicate nature of babies' ears, using warm water, soap, or a saline spray is advised when it specifically comes to children (via About Kids Health). In addition, you'll want to keep the earring in place for at least four weeks. To keep it healthy, be sure to gently rotate the earring daily.

You should also be cognizant of any signs of infection. This can include oozing, redness, swelling, or fever (via Healthline). You should contact your pediatrician if you are concerned about possible infection signs.

Ultimately, choosing whether or not to pierce your child's ears is a personal decision. Above all, just be sure your piercer is taking the necessary safety precautions.