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When Should I Let my Daughter get Her Ears Pierced?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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When you should allow your daughter, or son in some cases, to get her ears pierced is a matter of some debate. In certain cultures, it is traditional pierce an infants' ears. For those living in the US, UK, Australia or Canada, the age varies, and some girls get their ears pierced prior to attending school, while others have to wait until they are 12 or 13. In some families, girls are not allowed to pierce their ears until they are adults.

If you aren’t fulfilling certain cultural norms by getting a child’s ears pierced, it makes sense to wait until the child is mature enough to take good care of the piercings herself. Pierced ears become easily infected without the proper care, so a girl should be able to follow care guidelines first.

Although some girls can comply with such guidelines before the age of 12, those who are less conscious of basic hygiene may have a hard time performing routine ear care. Children who have difficulty remembering to perform chores or bring home their homework may also be a little too distracted to care for any piercings yet.

For many years, it has been fashionable for girls to have multiple piercings in their ears. You should never allow first piercings in the ears to be multiples. Instead, allow the girl to have one piercing in each earlobe, and wait and watch how she cares for them before allowing any more.

Rarely, piercings through the cartilage in the upper part of the ear can cause serious damage the ear, resulting in difficult to treat infections. Because cartilage does not have its own blood supply, oral antibiotics cannot reach infections there. This can result in serious illness and cartilage deformation. If a child wants multiple piercings, consider waiting until she is 18, and discourage cartilage piercing at any time.

Parents should know to watch for certain signs of problems when they allow their daughters to have their ears pierced. For example, if an earlobe seems red, swollen, or feels hard, it is probably infected. Second, watch for allergic reactions to certain metals, like nickel. Even silver is problematic for some children, so always chose hypoallergenic earrings, and when possible, gold coated studs.

In the end, allowing a daughter to have her ears pierced is a personal and individual decision. It depends upon your personal beliefs, your observations of your child, and the degree to which you feel pierced ears are important. Do recognize that piercings will always carry some health risk for infection and blood-borne diseases, even though it is a common practice. It's up to you to decide if this risk is justifiable.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a BeautyAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon988347 — On Feb 10, 2015

A cartilage piercing is relatively safe if it is done by a proper piercer with a medical grade needle.

Generally the needle is the better method (and I am not talking about sewing needles or safety pins here). When done right it actually hurts less then getting pierced with a gun, it is more hygienic (piercing guns cannot be sterilized and hence transmit blood borne diseases like AIDS or hepatitis), the healing time is shorter and the risk of infections and other complications is significantly lower, due to the fact that an extremely sharp needle causes less trauma then a blunt stud being rammed through the tissue violently by a spring-loaded bolt.

So you should take your child to a reputable tattoo shop or body piercing parlor to get his or her ears pierced.

By anon318954 — On Feb 09, 2013

I had mine done when I was a baby, took them out at about 11, re-pierced them at 14, then just re-pierced them again today (I'm fifteen) but like a previous comment said, "when will it stop?" That's actually very true, because from my ears, I got my nose, then belly button, then monroe. So I guess it depends.

By anon189872 — On Jun 24, 2011

I had mine pierced at six months old but wouldn't let my mom clean them, so she took them out. I got them again at seven.

By anon133544 — On Dec 11, 2010

My partner and I decided to have all three of our daughters' ears pierced at three months old. We have had no problems with them at all and they are all glad that they grew up wearing earrings.

Friends of ours who waited until their girls were older or wanted to have them done had problems then having them done or they got infections so had to be taken out. Obviously it is up to the parents but having them done early worked for us. I suggest have them done as babies or wait until they are teenagers. --Sue

By anon133252 — On Dec 09, 2010

i can't remember when i had mine done, i was probably 1 or 2, but i don't regret it. i say do it young so your child doesn't have to do it when they are older, and when they are older if they don't like it they can just take them out, but i can't see why you wouldn't like it.

By anon131889 — On Dec 04, 2010

I got my ears pierced when i was a baby and last year as a late 18 b-day present i got my ears double pierced. There is no right or wrong thing to do. But I think it's best to get your little girls ears pierced when they are a baby because if you did it when they're older they might freak out and ruin the ear piercing. But also don't force your kids to get their ears pierced. My parents only got my ears pierced when I was a baby because they were tired of people calling my sister (my sister is 3 and a half years older then me) a boy when she was a baby and she was wearing girly clothes so they pierced mine when i was a couple of months old (my sister was almost a year when she got hers pierced). But it's up to the parents of the kid.

By anon126089 — On Nov 11, 2010

mine were done at six years and now I'm 10. i think it's stupid -- it's just ears. who cares? not like its your belly or tongue.

By anon116416 — On Oct 06, 2010

I got mine pierced for my 11th birthday. It really didn't hurt at all! Plus they look really cute!

By anon84941 — On May 18, 2010

I have four daughters and and one son I know I'm going to get some flak for this and maybe it's because I'm a guy, but I am always having this argument with them. Here it is short and simple. We are our children's caretakers until they're 18. That means we are supposed to make decisions for them that pertain to their health and well being, not decisions that they should make when they are adults and are in control of their own bodies.

You might say it's only earrings and they will look pretty. I say when will it stop, it's only a tattoo, it's only breast implants, it's only a face lift, it's only botox. Let children think they're pretty for what God gave them, not for what society tells them they should look like.

By anon78239 — On Apr 17, 2010

I think when they are a baby so they will not have to worry about it when they get older but that is is really up to you!

By anon73401 — On Mar 27, 2010

I got mine pierced on my ninth birthday. I don't remember begging for it -- I think it was more my mum's idea and I liked it so I got it done.

About a year ago for my fourteenth birthday I wanted to convince my mum to let me get the second holes done. I had to beg a bit and list five people who had it done (her, a friend's sister, an old friend, my ex science teacher and my other friend) and she let me do it. I don't understand why parents wouldn't let their daughters get them pierced till they're like thirteen.

I can see why my mum won't let me get my belly pierced. I'm fifteen in April and I think I'm going to do it in winter, I think.

By anon70316 — On Mar 13, 2010

it is probably most popular to get them done at 10 years old.

By anon70062 — On Mar 11, 2010

I had both my daughters' ears pierced at three months old. We have had no problems with them and they now love wearing earrings. It is a lot less trouble to have them done when they are very young so they grow up used to wearing earrings. I totally recommend it and your girls will thank you for it.

Pam

By anon57263 — On Dec 21, 2009

It's almost racist to suggest that small children "shouldn't" have earrings. Like the person says, it's a Hispanic culture for girls to have them put in after birth. To suggest otherwise is like saying, "You are not allowed to be Hispanic".

By anon53015 — On Nov 18, 2009

Children's ears should be pierced at an early age. I believe before the age of three because then they can adjust to wearing earrings before they begin school.

By anon47298 — On Oct 03, 2009

My cousin and I (I'm 25 and got my second set, she's 12 and got her first) went swimming 2 days after getting our ears pierced this summer and we went at least twice a week during the whole healing process. No problems for either of us!

By jber5 — On Jun 14, 2008

How long after new ear piercing before my 7 year old can go swimming in a public pool?

By mexicana — On Apr 06, 2008

It's very cultural also, so people in certain cultures may be surprised at other cultures - for example, it is very common for Mexican baby girls to have their ears pierced right away, while other people may see that as irresponsible.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a BeautyAnswered contributor, Tricia...
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