Pierced ears can be a point of contention between children and their parents. Little girls in particular may start asking to have their ears pierced from a young age, whether because they think it looks grown-up or they just think it’s pretty. Deciding whether or not is your child ready for pierced ears can be tricky. Here’s how you can tell if your child is ready for piercings.
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What Age Is Appropriate?
The right age is a very personal decision, but it’s worth bearing in mind that a piercing creates a puncture wound, which opens up the risk of infection. For that reason, it’s best to wait until the child is at least six months old, as infants have weaker immune systems and a higher risk of infection.
If you want your child to make their own decision about pierced ears, it’s better to wait until they are around ten, and better able to make an informed decision themselves. They’ll also be better able to take care of the new ear piercing themselves.
Can They Manage The Pain?
Ear piercing is quick, but it does hurt. If your child wants her ears pierced, you need to be sure she can manage the pain. You don’t want them to become too distressed after only one ear has been done. Explain to them how the procedure works so they know what to expect. Talk about it as you might prepare them for an injection; remind that it will hurt, but only for a moment and they will have their lovely new earrings afterwards. Ask the piercer for advice about pain management.
Can They Keep Their Piercings Clean?
A new piercing is an open wound, which means that it needs to be kept very clean to reduce the risk of infection. Either you, or they will need to be responsible for a good cleaning routine. Even if you think your child can manage to clean their piercings themselves, it’s wise to keep an eye on them to make sure they are doing it properly. New piercings should be cleaned twice a day, with saline solution or with an oil based soap and water. Make sure you or your child have clean hands before touching the piercing. Try to encourage them not to touch their earrings other than when they are cleaning the area.
It’s better to wait for pierced ears until your child can understand the importance of keeping them clean. Even if you have to help with the actual cleaning, their understanding will help them to leave their piercings alone and not risk infection or damage.
Teach them what the signs of infection are, so they know what to look out for. If the piercings are red, swollen and painful, or leaking fluid, this could be a sign of irritation. If your child knows what signs to look out for, they can let you know if they experience any symptoms, so you can handle the irritation before it becomes a bigger problem.
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