American Academy of Pediatrics' Guidelines for Ear Piercing

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Many little girls love the idea of wearing sparkly bling in their ears, but not all parents are necessarily on board for ear piercing. If your daughter has approached you about getting her ears pierced, consider the recommendations and facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics before making your final decision.

Age Recommendations

  • While you can certainly pierce your daughter's ears, or your son's for that matter, whenever you want to, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until your child is old enough to care for the piercings herself. There is only a small risk associated with getting your child's ears pierced, but if she's old enough to take care of the piercings on her own, her risk of developing an infection is smaller. That exact age depends on your child's maturity and willingness to take responsibility.

Where and Who

  • If you've decided that you and your child are both ready to take this big step, choose the place where you get the piercings done with care. Don't just skip off to the mall and plop your child in the chair. In many cases, the people doing the piercings in these places aren't trained well and might not take the precautions necessary to ensure that the procedure is done properly. The AAP recommends that your child's pediatrician or a well-trained nurse pierces your child's ears, and most doctor's offices are willing to do the piercing for a fee, which isn't covered by insurance. If you want to go to a jewelry store to get the piercings done, check to see if the person doing the procedure is a trained professional.

Preventing Infection

  • In addition to having a doctor, nurse or trained professional pierce your child's ears, the AAP also recommends specific cleaning methods to help reduce the risk of infection. Clean the piercings with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic ointment twice a day for the first week or so after your child's ears are pierced. Rotate the earring once a day, but don't take the earrings out for four to six weeks. Watch for signs of an infection, which include swelling, pain and redness, and seek medical attention immediately if any of them develop.

Keloids

  • A 2005 article published in "Pediatrics," a journal from the AAP, reports that keloid formation is more likely in children who get their ears pierced after age 11. Keloids are a growth of scar tissue that grows as the skin heals from an injury, such as a piercing. Keloids are difficult to treat, so the AAP recommends getting your child's ears pierced before age 11 or not getting them pierced at all, especially if keloids run in your family.

References

  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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