Piercings are a hot topic, especially when it comes to anyone under 18. It’s the kind of thing that no one can seem to come to a clear consensus on — not even the American Academy of Pediatrics has an official stance on it, except to advise that piercings are “performed carefully and cared for conscientiously” — and feelings are strongly polarized either way. Some argue that ear piercings, for example, inflict unnecessary pain on kids; for others it’s a rite of passage, and for some it’s even a cultural expectation. So what do the experts say?
“Any time you puncture the skin, you open up the opportunity for infection, and because infants still have developing immune systems, I encourage parents to wait until their child is at least 6 months old to get her ears pierced,” Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, tells Parents. Many parents opt to wait until the child asks to have their ears pierced; however, one study found that keloids, or excessive scar tissue, were more likely to develop when ears are pierced after the age of 11 than before.
If you’re getting your baby’s ears pierced, you should be sure you’re committed to keeping the piercings clean until they fully heal and monitoring closely for signs of infection. And if you’re waiting until your child is old enough to make their own decision regarding getting pierced, it’s advisable to wait until they’re also responsible enough to care for their own piercings.
When it comes to other piercings, such as the nose or belly button, the debate is even more fierce. Piercings in any other area seem to fall more squarely into the realm of “body modification” than ears do, and many states have laws regulating whether kids under 18 can get such modifications without parents. (You can find a list of regulations by state here).
Love them or hate them, piercings are always going to be a topic of debate — especially when you’re a celebrity parent whose every move is scrutinized in the public eye. When they make the decision to allow piercings, of any kind, it’s a guarantee that the keyboard commandos will come out of the woodwork to weigh in. Here are some of the celebrity moms who have caught major flak for their kids’ piercings.
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