With every passing year, the knowledge that piercing guns are a bad idea becomes more commonplace. However, this leaves many parents unsure of what to do – many shops (ours included) won’t pierce anyone under the age of 7, which puts a damper on the longstanding tradition of piercing your baby’s ears. While it may seem a bit of a bummer, there are numerous good reasons for this policy, and they have only your child’s interests in mind.
We’ve discussed before why piercing guns are dangerous; the fact that they cannot be completely sterilized, the lack of hollow needle, the absence of proper training for the piercer, and the inappropriate aftercare all come together to create a potentially disastrous experience. Put simply, an untrained clerk is using a non-sterile piece of equipment to shoot a dull piece of jewelry into your child’s flesh, and then giving you a bottle of harsh chemicals to clean the wound with. Not exactly what you had in mind for your little one, is it? As much as it may go against the common stereotypes, tattoo shops are, by and large, very clean and safe places. We use disposable, sterile needles. We clean and sterilize our tools using medical equipment, such as autoclaves and ultrasonics. We wipe down our stations with products that kill bacteria and viruses on contact, ensuring even the chair you sit on is free of contamination. And, once the piercing is complete, we arm you with aftercare information, and saline solution – the same product hospitals flush wounds with and first-aid attendants never leave home without.
But, why 7? What makes that the magic number, and why won’t we pierce your baby? First and foremost, tattoo shops, as opposed to malls who’ve only profit in mind, value consent and understanding. We want to pierce your child because they want to be pierced, and we want them to be capable of understanding the aftercare themselves. Further, babies and toddlers are less aware of where they are putting their hands – they’ll pull on their new piercing, touch it, get it dirty, and, on occasion, rip it out. The chance of them healing well and staying happy increases exponentially with every year they wait. Lastly, babies and toddlers are often involved in activities that can irritate a piercing – swimming lessons, playing in the sandbox, making snow angels – all of these and more are really bad for a fresh piercing. By 7, your child is old enough to understand that getting their ears pierced may mean sitting out for awhile.
For many little girls and boys, an ear piercing is a huge experience. It’s a milestone –the first of many steps towards autonomy they will take. Make it a safe and enjoyable one.
You may also like to check out related blog posts:
"Why I Took My 7-Year-Old to a Tattoo Shop"