Baby ear piercing: medical expert opinion. Meredith A. Goodwin, MD is a practicing Family Practitioner. The #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination, BabyCenter reaches more than 45 million parents a month from every corner of the globe through its 11 owned and operated properties in 9 different languages. Image courtesy of PallaviS via Bigstockphoto.
Some people pierce their children’s ears when they’re newborns. There’s usually no medical reason to wait, but the procedure is not without risk.
Not all ear-piercing operations have the proper equipment or staff trained to work specifically with young children. For example, ear piercing guns can’t be sterilized, so it’s possible to contract hepatitis or some other infection from them.
If you’re set on having your baby’s ears pierced, it’s probably safer to ask your child’s doctor to do it for you with a needle.
Here’s what else you should know before having the procedure done:
Ear piercing is usually done without painkillers because the piercing itself hurts less than a shot of anesthetic would. (You can give your baby a dose of infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the procedure if you want.)
Another thing to remember is that your child will be constantly touching her ears, and the pierced area can easily become infected. To help guard against this, you’ll need to clean the posts and the area around the ear with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide several times a day (or as often as your doctor recommends). Watch for increased redness or tenderness around the piercing hole and on the earlobe that could indicate infection.
There’s also a chance that your child will have an allergic reaction to metals after getting her ears pierced. If she develops a rash around the piercing, you’ll need to take the earrings out.
To avoid this, you can try to make sure that the parts of the earrings that touch her ear are made of surgical steel or 14 karat gold. (This applies to the backs as well as the posts.) If the rash doesn’t subside, your child probably won’t be able to wear earrings.