There is no right or wrong answer for getting baby’s ears pierced. Depending on whether the decision was cultural, cosmetic, or simply preference, you likely went back and forth on deciding whether or not to pierce baby’s ears in infancy. If you’ve finally made the choice to move forward with the perfect pair of studs, the next big decisions you need to make are the when and where while following health and safety guidelines.
The best place to get a baby’s ear pierced is at a pediatrician or a tattoo parlor because they maintain the highest standard of hygiene and they will use a sharp, hollow needle that is less painful and safer than the piercing gun used as places such as Walmart or Claire’s.
There are some medical and safety guidelines parents need to pay attention to before they head to their local mall and pop into any tween jewelry store. Shopping for a professional to perform the piercing is much more important than deciding on baby’s first pair of earrings.
When can I get my baby’s ears pierced?
While ear piercing, when done professionally, is generally safe for young children and babies, the AAP recommends waiting until a child is old enough to take care of the piercing themselves. However, if you choose to get a child’s ears pierced in infancy, it’s recommended to wait until your child is at least three months old, but preferably as old as 6 months, to reduce the risk of infection or even a hospital stay.
It’s important to note that if a piercing becomes infected and the baby develops a fever a hospital stay may be necessary according to most health and safety protocols for children that young.
It’s wise to be sure baby is up to date on vaccines, like the tetanus shot, before making the appointment. According to the CDC, if parents are following the recommended vaccination schedule, a child will have their second tetanus vaccination at around 4 months of age.
What’s most important when piercing a baby’s ears is working with a trusted professional and following proper care and hygiene during the healing process.
Do babies need shots before getting ears pierced?
Some experts recommend waiting until baby has had two doses of the tetanus vaccine, which is done at 4 months according to the CDC recommended vaccine schedule. This provides additional protection for baby in case of infection.
How to care for infant ear piercings
Much like with piercings in older children and adults, it’s important to take excellent care of the area during the healing process to avoid pain and infections.
Follow these simple steps to keep your baby’s ear piercing cared for:
- Avoid touching the piercings except for when you’re cleaning them
- Use clean hands before touching the new piercings
- Two to three times per day, clean the entire area surrounding the piercings with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Use this as a reminder to check that the earrings are secure and gently rotate the earrings.
- Do not change the earrings for the first 4-6 weeks
- Keep an eye out of redness, puss or swelling that lasts longer than 24 hours after the initial piercing was done. If a fever of 100.4 or greater develops or the ears feel warm to the touch the piercings may be infected.
If baby has signs of infection, continue to follow stringent aftercare steps, and call your pediatrician for advice or care.
How do you pierce an infant’s ears?
While there are different methods for piercing ears and other body parts, the ideal way to pierce a baby’s ears is with a needle, not a piercing gun, which you’ll generally find at most mall kiosks or jewelry stores. An experienced piercer, doctor, or nurse will be able to advise you further on best practices.
The piercing process is similar for infants as it is for adults. A mark is made on the earlobe as a guide for where the holes should go followed by sterilization and then piercing with sterile equipment. Much like with immunizations, you’ll be asked to hold baby still while the professional places the piercing. Earrings are then placed in the ears.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the sterilization process and watch closely to make sure the technician performing the piercing follows best practices for sanitation. A professional piercer will follow these steps for providing a clean, safe experience:
- Wash their hands and put on fresh gloves
- Needles, tools, and jewelry should all be inside individually sealed, sterile packages
- The piercer will change gloves if they have to touch anything in the room aside from their sterile tools and equipment
The AAP recommends using gold post, stud earrings with safety backing to reduce the risk of allergic reactions and inflammation, and for added security and safety.
They also advise that the procedure be done under sanitary conditions by a trained professional.
Do they numb baby’s ears before piercing?
Anytime needles are involved it’s generally not the most pleasant experience-especially for little ones. If you’re worried about discomfort during the piercing process, try bringing along an ice pack to help numb the area before and offer relief afterward.
Some pediatricians or medical professionals can prescribe a numbing cream or may apply it to the earlobe upon piercing if being done in a doctor’s office. Give your pediatrician a call to find out if this is an option for you.
Do babies cry when they get their ears pierced?
Just like with any injection, an ear-piercing will be painful for baby, so expect some tears. Try icing the area before and after to offer relief or bringing along a favorite toy, pacifier, bottle, etc. to offer comfort afterward. A tip to help reduce crying and anxiety is to call ahead to ask if there are two piercers available so the ears can be done at the same time.
The best place to get a baby’s ears pierced safely
There are more places than just the mall to get your ears pierced. In fact, you’ll want to steer clear of any place that uses a piercing gun to get your child’s ears pierced because, according to the Association of Professional Piercers a piercing gun is not ideal due to the risk of infection and the difficulty of proper sanitation using this equipment. Most mall kiosks and stores offer ear piercing with a piercing gun, so you may want to shop around for more options.
You can ask your dermatologist, pediatrician, tattoo parlor, an area jeweler, or local kiddie salon for infant piercing services. Just be sure that you check with the Better Business Bureau and do your research before making an appointment. If your pediatrician doesn’t offer piercing services, ask for a recommendation or the best place to start your search.
If you’re looking outside your pediatrician’s or other medical professional’s offices, then follow these guidelines for choosing a safe and reputable location for your child’s ear piercing:
- Is the location rated well with the Better Business Bureau?
- Is the location properly licensed and credentialed?
- Ask about AAP accreditation (Association of Professional Piercers)
- Ask about the process and sterilization techniques
- Check out portfolios and reviews
- Trust your instincts-if you don’t feel completely at ease then you’re not obligated to stay for your appointment
If you’re not able to have a medical professional, like your pediatrician, a nurse or dermatologist, pierce your baby’s ears, then try finding an Association of Professional Piercers member near you here.
While this may not be the first place you think of to take a child, outside of a medical office this is likely the best place to take a baby for ear piercing. Why? Because reputable tattoo parlors have trained piercers that are educated on proper sterilization, technique, and must adhere to strict health and safety guidelines.
Will tattoo shops pierce baby’s ears?
You’ll likely have to do some calling around and research in your local area, but this is not an unheard-of practice and many piercing professionals actually advocate for parents to take their kids to tattoo shops to get their children’s ears pierced rather than at the mall. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$40 and up for this service at a tattoo parlor.
Can a baby go into a tattoo shop?
With a consenting adult, children under 18 are generally able to head to the tattoo parlor for an appointment. Be sure to do your research on what’s allowed in your state and what the restrictions and preferences are of your local tattoo parlors. Some states require that a minor have a photo ID and other credentials prior to getting a piercing for recordkeeping and liability purposes. Again, try calling around to some reputable parlors and shops in your area to get some information on which ones provide this service for young children.
Pediatric ear piercing is a service offered by some pediatrician’s offices, often referred to as medical ear piercing. This may be the most comfortable choice for parents, but not all offices offer this service. Pediatricians who offer this service are trained in piercing techniques and are experts in wound care and management (after all, you’re asking for holes in the body). Some pediatrician’s offices charge $75-$100 for this service.
Do all pediatricians pierce ears?
Not all pediatricians offer this service and if there is one in your area that does, you may need to be a patient of theirs to receive this service, but that may not always be the case. Some research and phone calls will help you determine what’s available in your area.
Some select Walmart locations offer ear piercing services. They use the Inverness System, which is a piercing gun, and pricing starts at $10. You’ll need to call your local Walmart to see what ages they pierce and to learn more about their process.
Is it safe to pierce baby ears at Walmart?
Walmart uses the Inverness System, which is a piercing gun, and, ideally, a hollow needle is best for most piercings due to sterilization standards, technique, and healing. However, a piercing gun can be used on baby’s ears.
Most malls in America have the iconic Claire’s store. Known for their jewelry and accessories for kiddos to teens they also are known as the place to get your ears pierced at the mall. Claire’s stores offer ear piercing free with the purchase of starter kits, which are listed at $18 and up.
How old does a baby have to be to get her ears pierced at Claire’s?
Claire’s requires babies to have had a current DTaP shot, which will be by eight weeks of age.
Is it safe to pierce baby ears at Claire’s?
Generally speaking, yes, it’s safe to get an ear piercing at Claire’s stores. These stores offer general piercing services using pre-sterilized, individually packaged equipment.
The Piercing Pagoda is another iconic place to get ears pierced at the local mall. Most of these locations offer children’s ear-piercing services for kids as young as two months and up. Piercing Pagoda will offer to pierce both ears at once to help alleviate anxiety when two piercers are available, so call ahead to make arrangements.
How old does a baby have to be to get her ears pierced at Piercing Pagoda?
According to their website, they offer piercing services for babies two months and up. They also require a current DTaP shot.
Is it safe to pierce baby ears at Piercing Pagoda?
Piercing Pagoda technicians receive annual training and re-training to keep up with best practices and services. They use single-use, sterilized, and pre-packaged equipment for piercing. They offer short post style earrings ideal for kids 3 and under and allow for complementary follow-up visits if you have any concerns. For more information on their process, check their site here.
Remember to do careful research on reputable venues in your area that offer children’s piercing services-this is a relatively common procedure, so you should have plenty of options in your area. Just as important as when and where you choose to get your child’s ear pierced is how you care for it afterward. Be sure to closely follow aftercare instructions and keep a close eye on your child’s ear piercing in the weeks following the procedure to ensure proper healing so they can enjoy their earrings for a lifetime.