Ear Piercing Safety

You know the day is coming when your tween is asking to have her ears pierced. Do it the safe way with these tips from Dr. Jessica Long.

Getting your ears pierced can be a momentous occasion.  For some kids, it happens when they are babies and they have no memory of it.  For others, it’s a birthday promise they’ve been counting down towards for years. My three year old is already begging for earrings but has to wait until the arbitrary age of seven (I’m such a mean mom).  Regardless of when the big moment happens, you want to make sure it’s done right.

Be sure to choose a clean and reputable place.  Your pediatrician might even offer it as we do at Spring Valley Pediatrics.  You’ll want to make sure the person poking a hole in your child’s ears is well trained, wears new disposable gloves, and uses equipment that is sterilized to decrease the chance of infection.

Be sure to choose the right earrings.  Since nickel is a main culprit of allergic reactions, stick to hypoallergenic materials like sterling silver or 14-, 18- or 24-karat gold.  At Spring Valley Pediatrics, our patients choose from a variety of earrings all made of 14-carat gold or surgical stainless steel.

Be sure to be up to date with vaccines.  Most pediatricians recommend your little one have received her third tetanus shot, typically given at the six-month-old well-visit, before any ear piercing.  We want to make sure this elective procedure carries as little risk to your child as possible.

Be sure to follow proper care of your piercing.  For the first six weeks after your ears are pierced, it is important to wash the ear lobe (while keeping the earring in) twice a day with soap and water.  We provide our patients with another cleaning solution to use in addition to soap and water twice a day. Turn the earrings, like winding a watch, twice a day as well.   After 6 weeks of keeping the original earrings in, you can replace them for other light stud earrings but avoid any heavy or dangling earrings for 4-6 months.  Also don’t leave your earrings out for more than 24 hours until your piercing is at least six months old – you don’t want those holes closing up!

Be sure to call your doctor if your new ear piercing is red, painful, or has discharge.  No matter how careful you are, infections can happen so be sure to be seen by your physician if things don’t seem right.

Happy piercing!