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When to Pierce a Child’s Ears

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

I just received an email seeking some advice as to when a child should get their ears pierced. I know that in some cultures a baby girl has her ears pierced right after birth, while others may wait until a little girl is older.

I personally prefer to wait until a child is older to have their ears pierced. I think that it is important to let your daughter decide that she wants to have her ears pierced and that she is also old enough to take care of her pierced ears herself. It seems to be “age appropriate” for girls somewhere between the ages of 10 -13. At that time, many girls that I see seem to have decided that it is worth “the pain” to have their ears pierced.  There are a few girls who are so “shot phobic” that they never even want to talk about piercing their ears, the thought just makes them shudder.

In my office I pierce ears beginning from 4 months on up and recommend and   infant who has had their first round of shots.

I prefer to mark a baby’s ear lobe myself and know that it is much easier if your baby is less active and easily held.

As a baby gets to be around 9 months and older, they are more active and don’t even like to have their ears examined, yet alone hold them down to pierce their ears. The last thing I want to do is mismark ear lobes and end up trying to hit a “moving target” and have mismatched pierced ears!  Getting the holes even is important to me and I don’t want the child to blame me for those uneven earrings later on down the road.

I pierce earrings with a system that uses a 24 ct stud and that stays in the earlobe for at least the first 4 – 6 weeks after the ears are pierced. We teach the child/parent how to clean the earrings after the piercing and tell them that an earring should stay in the ear for many months before leaving an earring out over night as you don’t want the hole to close. It takes quite a while before you can actually leave the earrings out for any period of time.

So, there is not one set time to pierce girls’ ears, as every parent knows our children are all different.   But, whenever you choose to pierce ears, I prefer a doctor to do the piercing. That is what my own mother made me do too! I begged and begged and they finally “caved” when I was 16 and I remember the doctor who did it!!  It was a big day.

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

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One Response to “When to Pierce a Child’s Ears”

  1. Erin says:

    As a mother of three girls who have all had their ears pierced at the closest Claire’s franchise, I honestly feel that having a medical degree doesn’t necessarily make one better or more qualified at handling the task. If anything, I would be more nervous having a doctor do a piercing considering it’s probably not something they do multiple times a day.

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