Where did you pierce your babies ears?
May 13, 2012 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Where did you go to pierce your 1 year olds ears?

We want to pierce our babies ears. Taking her to the mall to have a high school student do it with a piercing gun seems weird, but maybe it isn't. What did you do?
posted by chunking express to Health & Fitness (26 answers total)
Best answer: Ask your pediatrician. A lot of them will do it, or can recommend someone.
posted by decathecting at 1:42 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Tattoo & piercing shops may not be willing to do this. I just got my ears pierced at a tattoo/piercing shop & asked the piercer what's the age of the youngest person he'd ever done a piercing for. He said something like 10 or 11, and that he really doesn't like doing piercings for people who do not have the ability to say "no."
posted by AMSBoethius at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

I agree that tattoo and piercing shops may not be willing to do this with a baby who cannot give consent. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable having my child pierced with a piercing gun, either, due to the fact that a gun can't be adequately sterilized (more info). So it's a bit of a catch-22--you might not be able to have access to the safest type of ear piercing for your baby.

If I were in your position, I'd call up the closest reputable piercer and ask for advice.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You might find the answers in this recent thread "Should she get her ears pierced by an MD, or a 16-year-old minimum wage mall worker?" helpful in your decision, especially this link from fiercecupcake.
posted by peagood at 2:19 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The one benefit I can think of with the mall is that they probably do it all the time, so whoever does it will have experience with getting it done quickly and with the bare minimum of fuss. A lot of what's important for any piercing is the after-care, which you will be able to do regardless of who does the actual piercing.

Do you go to a playgroup? Do any of the babies have pierced ears? Ask the parents where they got it done. Heck, if you go to story time or anywhere with a pierced-eared baby, asking the parent would be a reasonable thing to do. (As a mom questions like "I love that stroller, where did you get it?" don't bother me in the least and I'm often happy to feel helpful by answering questions.)

I personally wouldn't expect my pediatrician to do the piercing, but I would call her for advice on the after-care.
posted by sonika at 2:23 PM on May 13, 2012

Best answer: I'm thinking it should have been done earlier for ease of aftercare. That age,you will have problems with her grabbing her ears and possibly swallowing the posts.

Or you can wait till the child is over and can consent.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

A lot of the mall stores won't do babies. When I pierced ears back in my high school mall days, the youngest we could do was 4.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2012

Best answer: I had it done by a pediatrician (family friend) around the same age, with no infections or subsequent issues. I believe she actually came to our house to do it. I am not scarred for life due to having ears pierced at a tender young age, BTW. A big benefit, at least from the perspective of my adolescent self, was that I got to wear earrings without having the all-too-common power struggle around ear piercing with my parents. My parents probably appreciated this as well.
posted by Atrahasis at 2:41 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Different cultures have different practices and ear piercing is common in some of them. All my female cousins on one side had piercings as babies. I don't know if that's the case for you, but it's definitely not "insane".

I'd ask anyone you've seen with a young child with ear piercings. That might be a bit of a tough age because they are willful and strong! A good local recommendation for someone who has worked with children will be your best bet, I think.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:43 PM on May 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: If you wanted to have your child's ears pierced at a young age, you should have had it done at the hospital when she was an infant. This is more common in some cultures, so I don't know if they offered it at the hospital you used. When you see very young girls with pierced ears, it's because they had it done when they were a few weeks old, not at the mall when they were one.

At this point it's probably better to wait until she's old enough to actually ask you to take her to get her ears pierced. If you think it's better to do it now so that she forgets the pain, don't worry. I had mine done at ten and I don't remember a thing, and most people I know are the same. With an older kid, it's easier for them to remember to be careful and clean the holes properly.

If you can find someone who will do it for you, it will probably turn out fine, just like Atrahasis said. Otherwise, just have it done when she is older.
posted by lali at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

I waited until my daughter was 7 and really wanted them pierced. We then went to a friend of ours who is a dermatologist. Some pediatricians do it. I would not go to the mall.
posted by myselfasme at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2012

I got my ears pierced as a baby in the hospital. I'd second asking the pediatrician. I saw a baby get ears pierced when I was a little kid (at the mall) but I can't really remember how they did it.
posted by sweetkid at 2:54 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Look for a local piercing parlor, and ask them about their baby piercing experience. I got my ears pierced recently at a local business (La Lobe in Dallas) since I had a bad experience at a Claire's when I was younger and wanted it done right this time around. The place ended up being a very nice piercing-only place staffed by some lovely and very professional older women. Before my appointment I watched two babies get their ears pierced, and apparently it was a specialty of the place. (One baby cried when pierced, the other baby slept right through it.) Your best bet is to look for a similar place. Local small businesses are probably your best bet. DO NOT do the piercing gun route, that will only end badly.
posted by internet!Hannah at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ask your pediatrician if he/she will do it in the office.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 3:06 PM on May 13, 2012

I got my 6-yr-old done when she begged. We went to a professional piercing place -- hard to find as many places either won't do kids under 12, or legally can't do kids under 18 in my city. Aftercare was not as smooth as I'd hoped -- we followed all the instructions, but still ended up having occasional swelling and irritation in the months the followed. Perhaps because active 6 yr olds get messy? I dunno.

I think a pediatrician would be great -- *if* they had regular experience, which I doubt most of them do. Ideally, I'd call around and find a professional piercing place that does kids under two at least 2-3 times a month, and be ready to travel and hour or two, if needed.
posted by MeiraV at 3:52 PM on May 13, 2012

Best answer: Hi, I've been a full time piercer for over a decade (classy shop with needles, not a mall kiosk with a gun). This would not be possible in my area because of local regulations. Even if that were not the case, you would probably be turned away because

a) as St Alia mentions, the earrings are an easily grabbed choking hazzard. And the sharp piercing studs that would be worn if they were pierced with a gun (either by a paediatrician or mall kiosk) are doubly dangerous.

b) the majority of infections and other problems associated with piercings are caused by people playing with their new piercings with dirty hands. And that's exactly what you would expect from a 1-year-old, and they won't listen when you tell them to stop.

That said, I've never actually heard of a small child choking on a sharp piercing stud (not that I have a news-alert set up for it), and part of being that age is supposed to be building the immune system by exposing it to germs. So the risk is probably quite low. But that's the logic behind not doing the earlobes of small children.

Using a piercing gun and minimal cleanliness is not exactly rocket science and you're likely to see the same results if you go to a paediatrician, a mall kiosk, or just buy a one-use kit from Sally's Beauty Supply (or similar place).

But if you really want to do this the best possible way, I'd find a proper piercing studio that uses needles instead of guns. And ask them to break out the hemostats and make sure the barbells are tight enough to avoid removal and swallowing. This might cause problems if your child needs quick medical attention that requires removing them, but it minimizes the chance of choking on a small sharp object. Choose titanium jewellery (the most hypoallergenic material commonly used) and leave them in until s/he is old enough not to pull them out and eat them.

IANAD, that's not medical advice.
posted by K.P. at 4:41 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

This came up on my neighborhood parenting listserv and the consensus was pediatrician.
posted by k8t at 6:36 PM on May 13, 2012

My nanny took me to the jewelry section at the then-Hudson's.
posted by lotusmish at 7:03 PM on May 13, 2012

I'm an emergency department doctor and haven't heard of kids choking on earrings (although I'm sure it has happened, but most children that age have tiny studs that would just get swallowed, not choked on). Think about whether you would want an earring stud in your child's stomach. Also, kids that age like to put stuff in their ear canal and inside their nose. It is tricky for us doctors to dig out items with sharp edges from noses and ears without causing trauma. Final anecdote, one time I had to spend about 30 minutes trying to dig the backing of a stud out of a little girl's ear. The backing had actually gone inside the earlobe and come off the stud post, and I had to use a scalpel to dig it out. That was very scary and not fun for her. Anyway I would advise getting this done by your doctor when she is old enough that these issues aren't going to be such a problem for her.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:04 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've had my daughters' ears done at the mall. If you're going to go that route, I liked the place i went that had two guns: they did both ears at the same instant. No crying while waiting to do the second ear.
posted by BinGregory at 9:10 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I concur with getting them pierced as early as possible or waiting until the child wants the responsibility. There's a practical consideration affecting the parent, child, and piercer here -- when babies get big enough to squirm with some real force, it's MUCH harder to make the experience nice and short so that the kid can get the big cry out and then promptly forget about it.

/back in the olden days, I pierced ears with a gun at a jewelry store, and I was the best one at dealing with the babies and young children...so, I did a lot of them.
posted by desuetude at 9:31 PM on May 13, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips. My uncle (a family doctor in OZ) pierces ears, but I thought he was doing that because he's a brown dude from the old country, and not because it's a thing doctors actually do. So I guess we'll talk to our family doctor first. It sounds like we might have actually missed the best time to do this though. I blame my wife.
posted by chunking express at 6:09 AM on May 14, 2012

Don't feel bad (or blame your wife); I think the best time to do it is at age 12 -- otherwise, what's she going to do to feel Grown Up and/or rebel and make you worry at that age? You give yourself some negotiation fodder! hah.
posted by acm at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I urge you not to go to a mall piercer with a gun. Certainly many people go this route, but a quick googling of piercing gun safety issues (namely that they cannot and do not actually sterilize the guns, they just sanitize them, usually a wipe with some rubbing alcohol which does NOT kill bloodborne illnesses). As previously mentioned I'm not sure a professional piercer will pierce someone who cannot give consent, but I would look here first. Don't be scared off by a perhaps "alternative" look, most of these folks have great bedside manner. That being my first pick, second pick would be a doc with a needle. Please at least inform yourself about piercing guns before you go that route (if you MUST pierce the ears now) -- many piercers and pierced folks (self included) would like to see them outlawed.
posted by jorlyfish at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2012

Response by poster: I think the current plan is to not pierce her ears till she's older. Less chance of them getting pulled out in a baby fight.
posted by chunking express at 12:24 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good plan. We go to playgroup and it's honestly Toddler Fight Club.
posted by sonika at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2012

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