Monday, April 30, 2012

When can I pierce my baby's ears?

I was asked this question today by a parent of a 6 month old, and I was stumped. The common question that usually gets asked is whether to get the ear pierced by a doctor or a jeweler (a common practice in India), and this was a new one for me. Here is what I found online....

Although some parents like to get their baby's ears pierced as early as possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that you "postpone the piercing until your child is mature enough to take care of the pierced site herself."
This can help avoid some of the risks of baby ear piercing, including:
  • infection - younger infants have immature immune systems, so they might not be able to fight off an infection at the site of the piercing very well.
  • choking hazard - if they get the earring off.
  • allergic reactions - to the metals in the earrings (especially nickle and gold) she wears, but which can be hard to notice since infants normally rub their ears a lot.
  • embedded earring - this occurs when one part of the earring goes into the earring hole and gets embedded inside. Although this can happen at any age, it can be harder to remove from infants.
How big are the risks? They are likely fairly small, but since baby ear piercing is usually just a cosmetic procedure that can be put off to a safer time, there is little reason to take that even small risk.
My view: I would agree whole-heartedly that waiting till the child is at least 5-6 years old makes sense. 

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