Safe Ear Piercing for Kids
As a jeweler, stylist, hair dresser, doctor, pharmacist or other specialist who offers or plans to offer ear piercing services, maybe you have some questions about ear piercing for kids. Here are some answers provided by the International Association of Ear Piercing Market Specialists (EPM).
What is the legal minimum age for ear piercing?
In many countries (such as Germany), there is no minimum age for ear piercing for children. This decision is up to the parents or legal guardians. For minors, the parents or legal guardians sign a release form. For children under the age of 16, they should also be present during the ear piercing process.
What is the best age to have a child's ears pierced? What does the EPM recommend?
There are many different opinions about this. Our association does not tell parents what to do, but we trust that they will decide what's best for their children. Based on our experience, earrings for toddlers or babies are quite common in many cultures. In some countries, pediatricians recommend to wait with piercing a child's ears until after he or she has received the most important vaccines (e.g. diphtheria, tetanus). We even recommend parents to wait until their child expresses that he or she wants earrings. If parents wear earrings, children often express that wish at an early age. In the end, it's for the parents to choose the best age for their children to have their ears pierced. We recommend that jewelers and other specialists make sure to use a modern, gentle instrument and to have parents or legal guardians sign a release form.
From a medical perspective the age is irrelevant for ear piercing. The German Association of Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors (Deutscher Berufsverband der Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Ärzte) released the following statement on Oct. 16, 2012 via news.de/dpa:
No Perfect Age for Ear Piercing
Freiburg, Germany – There is no ideal time for ear piercing. The earlobe of adults is as well suited for ear piercing as that of younger people. And it does not necessarily hurt children more either.
From a medical perspective, it does not matter whether someone has their ears pierced as a child or later. The earlobe was equally well suited for ear piercing at any age, stated Michael Deeg of the German association of ENT doctors in Freiburg. The sensation of pain was not higher in kids than in adults either. Pain was mostly perceived as just a little pinch, according to the specialist. [...]
The age does not influence how quickly the holes close up either. «If I don't wear the earring for one or two weeks in the first few month after piercing, the hole will close up again.» Those who have worn earrings for many years do not need to worry that the holes will close up again. «There is a virtual piercing channel there,» explains Deeg. [...]
Source: news.de/dpa, 10/16/2012, translated from the German
What should specialists pay attention to when piercing the ears of children?
Before: Before piercing the ears, we recommend to not only wipe the child's earlobes but their hands too, since children often touch their ears instinctively after piercing.
During: Be prepared that children don't sit still. A teddy bear or other huggable friend can help. Many specialists have made positive experiences with piercing both ears simultaneaously with two staff members, even though this is not necessary when using modern, gentle instruments. This is something you can decide together with the parents.
After: After piercing the ears, you should demonstrate and explain the correct aftercare and its importance. It is important that the piercing studs are worn for six weeks continuously. In addition, you should show the parents the correct positioning of the earring back and explain that closing the earrings too tightly will negatively influence the healing process, since this prevents air circulation.
Are complications after ear piercing more common in children than in adolescents or adults?
No, based on our experience, that's not the case. Complications are rare. What's vital is the correct and regular care for newly pierced ears. Therfore, make sure to hand your customers the aftercare instructions provided by your manufacturer and offer their appropriate aftercare products. You can also encourage your customers to look up more information on your manufacturer's website for consumers. For younger children, it is of course the parents who are responsible for the aftercare. Based on our experience, this means that the aftercare is carried out much more diligently in these cases compared to adolescents or adults.
What are the benefits for jewelers or other specialists of offering ear piercing services for children?
In many cases, ear piercing services for children are in demand with lifestyle- and fashion-oriented consumers who wear earrings or other jewelry themselves. Quality aspects are especially important to parents. The first earrings are a favorite gift from parents, grandparents or godparents, e.g. for a birthday, religious event, the first day of school or other special occasions. Children and parents will remember a positive ear piercing experience for a lifetime—and they will positively remember your store. This is a great chance for you to generate new customers and increase customer loyalty, since great service is the best word-of-mouth marketing. Customers are likely to replace their piercing studs with higher-priced jewelry later.
What are the trends in the ear piercing market?
We currently observe several trends: First, ear piercing for kids is on the rise worldwide. Ear piercing for babies or toddlers is a tradition in countries in South and East Europe as well as Central and South America, mainly for girls. Human migration as well as the media contribute to the fact that this trend is more common in other countries too. The demand for earrings is increasing in general. Second, wearing multiple earrings per ear—usually starting at teenager age—is very popular nowadays. Third, there are more and more men who wear earrings. These trends are a good indicator of which target groups jewelers and other specialists can address by offering ear piercing services.