Ear Piercing For Kids: Right Age And Safety Tips

The time of ear piercing for kids may vary in each culture. Some may do it too early, while others do it later or not pierce at all. If ear piercing does not have a cultural significance, parents can choose to get their child’s ears pierced any time they want to. While some parents are excited to see their little one wearing pretty earrings, some are also worried about piercing. If you wish to know about the pros and cons of ear piercing for kids and precautions to avoid infections, reading our post could help.

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Right Age To Get Your Kid’s Ears Pierced

Wait till she is about nine or ten years old

Image: Shutterstock

When you get your kid to the ear piercing chair is a topic that is best left for you to decide. Getting your kid’s ears pierced is a very personal subject, and there is not a particular criteria that you have to follow regarding the ‘right’ age. When you do want to decide on the right age for your kid, do keep the following pointers in mind before kids getting their ears pierced:

  • Some experts suggest that it can be harmful if you pierce your child’s ears at a very early age. The reason they offer is that when you puncture your kid’s skin, it will be more susceptible to infection. As an infant, your child’s immunity levels are still developing, and it means that your child (at infancy) will not be able to fight off the infections that may creep in, which may slow down healing. Experts feel that it is always best to wait until your child is at least six months of age and then get the ears pierced.
  • If you want your child to have some say in whether or not you should get her ears pierced, you can also wait till she is about nine or ten years old. By that age, your kid will be more aware of what she wants and will understand the process better. Also, the plus point to it is that if your child is at an age where she understands better, she will be more responsible and take better care of her piercing as well as the jewelry.

Liang May, a mother of two children from Singapore shares how her three-year-old daughter requested to have her ears pierced. I asked her, “Do you really want to get earrings Faye?

‘Yes,’ She said. I narrowed down on a doctor’s clinic to get the piercing done. Faye (my daughter) sat quietly and confidently on me as Dr Oh pierced her first earring into her left ear. No cries, no jostles, no surprise even after five seconds of piercing. She just sat there, watched her video, and probably felt no pain at all. Then! When Dr Oh wanted to pierce her right earlobe, she retaliated.

We did it in the end and my daughter didn’t go home with just one side of her ears pierced. We were advised to return one week later for a free review. In the meantime, there was no need to clean the area with alcohol or any sort of cream. All we needed to take note of was, no swimming within the week and to keep the earrings on for three full months (i).”

Ensuring That Your Kid Feels Minimal Pain While Getting Her Ears Pierced

One of the biggest fears that most parents have when they take their kids to get their ears pierced is the pain that will come as part of the piercing. If you have decided to take your kid for a session of ear piercing but want to make sure that she experiences as less pain as possible, keep the following points in mind:

  • Ask your doctor to prescribe a numbing cream that will help to reduce the pain. Numbing creams that contain lidocaine derivatives will help to act as a local anesthesia so that your kid will not feel the pain at the time of piercing the ear.

    Ask your doctor to prescribe a numbing cream to reduce the pain

    Image: Shutterstock

  • You can apply a thick layer of the cream on your kid’s ear lobes at least 30 to 60 minutes before the ear will be pierced.

protip_icon Point to consider
Ear piercing might not be painful because the fatty tissue in the earlobes has fewer nerves than the other parts of the ears (1).

  • Alternatively, if you do not want to use a medicated cream to numb the area, you can also apply a cube of ice on the ear lobes just before the ears will be pierced. The cold from the ice cubes will numb the pain receptors that are present in the area for those next few minutes. As a result, your kid will not feel the pain during the time the ears will be pierced.

    Apply ice cubes on the ear lobes to numb the area before piercing

    Image: Shutterstock

  • Do remember that even when you use the above methods, it will not remove the pain completely, and your kid will feel a little pain and discomfort nonetheless. Instead of letting her feel it suddenly, tell her that it will feel as little as she gets hurt when she gets an injection. If your kid is too young to understand, you can tell her it will be a small ouch in the ear for one tiny moment and then it will all be gone.
  • Talk to your kid in a practical way and be sure that you are not anxious or worried in front of her. If you look scared yourself, your kid will pick up the signals from you and will also get scared and anxious. You can also ask her to take deep breaths while the ear is being pierced, as it will help her stay calm.

    Talk to your kid to ensure they are not anxious

    Image: Shutterstock

protip_icon Quick fact
Some piercing shops use hollow-bore needles (needles used to administer medicines intravenously) to pierce the ears. They create a tiny hole in the earlobe and may be gentler than piercing guns with a spring (1).

Who Should Pierce Your Kid’s Ears?

Ask your pediatrician to pierce your child's ears

Image: Shutterstock

Before you decide a place and person to get your kid’s ears pierced, here are a few things you should consider:

  • You can first ask your kid’s pediatrician or dermatologist if they do pierce kids’ ears. If they do, you will be sure that the doctor will use equipment that is sterile and will have the least chance of causing an infection. Also, your kid’s doctor will usually follow the safest practices when it comes to hygiene. Most dermatologists and pediatricians, however, do not pierce a kid’s ears, but you can still ask, just to be sure.
  • In case, your pediatrician or dermatologist says no, you can ask them for a reference where you can get ear piercings for kids safely.
  • Once you visit the person, who will pierce your kid’s ears, ask them how many years of experience they have in this field. The concerned person should ideally have more than a year of experience in child ear piercing specifically.
  • You also have to be very sure to see that the person who will pierce your kid’s ears follows the basic safety standards such as sterilization. Make sure the person washes hands before touching the equipment or puts on gloves. Also, you can ask them to clear the ear lobes with a wad of cotton wet with alcohol, to reduce chances of any infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do ears hurt after piercing?

It is natural to experience pain, swelling, and redness for about two days after an ear piercing. If these symptoms don’t go away even after a week, you should consult a doctor to check for infection (1).

2. What should I avoid after ear-piercing my child?

You should avoid the following after ear-piercing your child (2).

  • Do not take the earrings out for at least six weeks
  • Do not touch the piercings apart from the cleaning times
  • Try to keep your children out of the pools, oceans, or lakes until the piercings are completely healed

3. Is it better to pierce with a needle or gun?

Research suggests that a piercing gun may cause more damage to the ear cartilage. Therefore, experts may prefer using a piercing needle instead (3).

4. Does an ear bleed on piercing it?

Although not very common, piercing can sometimes lead to the oozing of blood or white, yellow, or greenish pus (4).

5. How long after piercing ears can my child swim?

The NHS recommends avoiding swimming for at least 24 hours after getting a piercing or until the piercing has fully healed to reduce the risk of infection and other complications (5).

The time for ear piercing for kids may vary in each culture. Some people prefer doing it early after the baby is born, others prefer doing it when they are a little older, and some may not do it. Whenever you decide to pierce their ears, make sure it is done by a certified doctor, under a complete sterilized setup, and with hypoallergenic and good quality earrings or studs. You can ask the doctor to use a topical anesthetic cream to reduce the discomfort. After piercing, keep an eye on the condition, and if you notice any signs of redness or infection, contact the doctor.

Infographic: Ways To Minimize Ear Piercing Pain In Children

Ear piercing, especially in girls, is common in many cultures worldwide. While some cultures prefer piecing at a very young age, others wait until later. The following infographic provides suggestions to reduce piercing pain and aftercare tips to prevent infection.

how to reduce ear piercing pain in children tips for care (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • It is best to get a piercing for your child after they are 6 months or older.
  • Numbing creams or ice can help in reducing the pain during the piercing process.
  • It is important to make your child aware of the slight pain they may feel in a calm manner.
  • Ear piercings should only be done by a professional with sterile equipment.
  • Follow aftercare instructions and be aware of the signs of infection.

Discover the step-by-step process of getting ear piercings at a doctor’s office, ensuring a safe and hygienic procedure for beautiful and stylish results. Watch the fascinating process unfold in this informative video.

Personal Experience: Source

i. Ear pierced at three years old;


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. What to expect when getting your ears pierced.
  2. Ear Piercing For Kids: Safety Tips From a Pediatrician.
  3. M P van Wijk et al., (2008); Ear piercing techniques and their effect on cartilage, a histologic study.
  4. Infected Ear Piercing.
  5. Can I go swimming after a piercing?
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