Most girls dream about the day they can get their ears pierced. As soon as young girls realize mom wears pretty jewelry, they want to mimic that. However, when your child gets his or her ears pierced is a very personal decision – both for you and them.

It is also important to know there are potential risks associated with ear piercing. Educating yourself on these risks as well as other common questions is smart before you take your child to get his or her ears pierced. And remember, your child will be more likely to take responsibility for keeping his or her ears (and new earrings) clean the older she is. She when in doubt, wait until you feel your child is mature enough to care for the piercing.

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When Should A Child Get Their Ears Pierced?

Experts advise that children are at least six months old before getting their ears pierced. Because the immune systems of infants are still developing, they are more prone to infection. Waiting until a child is at least 6 months old cuts down on the potential greatly.

At Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care, we are able to start ear piercing at the age of 5-years-old. However, if you want your child to make their own informed decision on ear piercing, age 10 is recommended.


How Can You Make Ear Piercing Less Painful?

Before the doctor begins the process, ask him or her to prescribe a topical numbing cream to help anesthetize the earlobes. Thirty to 60 minutes before the piercing, place a thick coat of the cream onto your child’s earlobes. You may also want to apply ice 15 to 30 minutes prior to the piercing to help numb the pain receptors.


How to Prepare My Child For An Ear Piercing

Most women have experienced an ear piercing at some point in their life; however, it can be very scary for a young child. There are a few ways you can help alleviate your child’s fear. Consider bringing along your child’s best friend for support or to get his or her ears pierced if they’re ready. If your child is nervous about getting their ears pierced, consider bringing along some distractions such as a new toy or even a special blanket.


Do Your Due Diligence Before Your Child’s Piercing

Before your child goes in for the piercing appointment, it is important that you check his or her tetanus shot records. Although the post should be sterilized before it’s used on your child’s ear by the licensed technician or physician, it’s still a good idea to ensure that your child has had at least two doses of the tetanus vaccination prior to the piercing.


Which Metal Is Best For A Child’s First Earrings?

When choosing your child’s first earrings, it is essential to pay attention to the metal type. Surgical stainless-steel earrings and posts are the safest as they don’t contain nickel or any alloys that may cause an allergic reaction. Other safe options include platinum, titanium and 14K gold. Because nickel and cobalt allergies are very common, doctors recommend that you avoid these metals if possible.


Where Should You Go For Children’s Ear Piercings?

It is always smart to try your dermatologist or pediatrician first; however, if they don’t do piercings, find out where they recommend. Once you’ve found a place you feel comfortable, you should be sure the technician follows basic safety protocol such as washing their hands, using gloves and cleaning your child’s earlobes.


Does My Child Need To Avoid Sports After Getting A Piercing?

Most doctors do not believe a child needs to avoid sports after getting his or her ears pierced; however, your child should be extremely careful, specifically the first two weeks after a piercing. It is recommended that your child stay away from swimming in a lake or ocean for at least two weeks as these may contain unknown bacteria.

If your child plays a sport that requires the use of a helmet (such as softball or horseback riding), consider putting tape or a small bandage over the earrings to protect them.


How Do I Care For My Child’s Ear Piercing?

It’s crucial to avoid infection after your child’s ears are pierced. Clean your own hands before touching your child’s ears. Twice a day, clean the front and back of the earrings with a cotton ball dampened by hydrogen peroxide or cleaning solution.

The earrings should be gently rotated a few times a day and should not be removed for six weeks. Your child should keep earrings of some sort in for 6 months to avoid the hole closing.

If possible, you should also keep your child’s hair pulled back into a ponytail or with a headband. Keep hairspray, shampoo and perfume away from the earrings as well.


How Do I Know If My Child’s Piercing Is Infected?

If your child doesn’t care for his or her piercing properly, it runs the risk of getting infected. Signs of infection include redness, swelling and drainage. Pain, itching and tenderness can also be symptoms of an infected piercing.

If you believe your child’s ear piercing is infected, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. A doctor will determine if the issue is caused by an infection or an allergy. If it is an allergy to the metal, selecting new posts made of a different metal should solve the problem.

If your child’s piercing is infected, the doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. The doctor may also recommend your child’s earrings be removed for at least six months so that the infection can heal completely. Once enough time has passed, you can get the ears pierced again.

If you’re concerned about ear piercing infections, Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care can help.

We’re open after hours and on weekends. You can even check-in online at one of our convenient pediatric urgent care locations in DFW.

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Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.