Piercing baby's ears carries minimal risk of injury. It is therefore preferable to equip yourself with a few doses of caution before taking action.
You imagine her being so cute with her ears with little hearts or little stars, but is it too early to have your little angel's ears pierced? In fact, according to a pediatrician, there is a minimum age and an ideal age.
Medically, he recommends waiting after the first doses of vaccines, i.e. between three and five months; babies are then better protected against the risk of infection since they are vaccinated against tetanus, a disease caused by a bacterium that gets into the wound when you cut yourself with it a defiled object.
“If you ask me what is the IDEAL age, I think that if the parents really care about it, they should privilege the moment when the child is mature enough to decide…”, mentions Dr. Richard Bélanger, pediatrician at the Center hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ) and member of the public education advisory committee of the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Do infants and toddlers suffer less than children and adults when their ears are pierced? No study allowsto answer this question, even if babies generally stop crying a few minutes after the piercing, which is not very painful after all, specifies Dr. Bélanger.
- Infection: even if the risk is minimal, it is higher in infants than in older children, points out the pediatrician, firstly because their immune system has not reached full maturity and is therefore less resistant. In addition, since the baby's earlobe is much smaller, the position of the earring is more likely to be improper, which makes the ground more fertile for injury.
- Bleeding: This rarely happens. This is usually a coagulation problem.
- Injuries: these can be related to the puncture, for example when it is performed at an inappropriate location (it is too low). The second type of probable injury is caused by an earring that is too tight and then becomes embedded in the ear.
Procedures and Recommendations
Employees in jewelry stores and beauticians who pierce ears use an awl, while in tattoo and body piercing parlors, needles are used. According to Dr. Bélanger, the risk of injury is higher with the punch, "because we are not able to assess the force of the pressure exerted on the ear".
He suggests that parents administer pain medication to theirchild before the piercing in order to lessen the pain caused by the piercing.
Jewellers and beauticians do not receive training to certify their skills in ear piercing; nevertheless, suppliers of piercing equipment provide them with a series of advice and warnings, points out Sylvie Laroche, esthetician at Clinique Aesthetic Excellence in Laval. “We also receive information about possible complications,” she says.
She also recommends that parents clean their child's ears and then apply Polysporin around the earring twice a day for the first two weeks after the piercing. Disinfection can then be performed once a day.
Dr. Richard Bélanger recommends using mild soap and water for “post-drill” cleaning because alcohol and peroxide, while not harmful, slow healing.
On the other hand, even if gold is a prestigious mineral and whose quality is no longer to be proven, it is more allergenic than jewelry made of surgical steel. Nickel also causes allergic reactions more frequently. “It is also important, especially at a young age, to choose earrings with a screw-in device or the equivalent. These devices greatly reduce the risk of children ingesting or aspirating dropped earrings,” he adds.