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Your Baby Week Five

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Updated March 27, 2011

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Baby Ear Piercing
A head bow can be a fun and safer alternative to earrings in your baby girl's first few years.

A head bow can be a fun and safer alternative to earrings in your baby girl's first few years, until she is ready to get her ear's pierced.

Photo © Karen Frazier Photography

Q. When can I pierce my baby's ears?

Although some parents like to get their baby's ears pierced as early as possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that you "postpone the piercing until your child is mature enough to take care of the pierced site herself."

This can help avoid some of the risks of baby ear piercing, including:

  • infection - younger infants have immature immune systems, so they might not be able to fight off an infection at the site of the piercing very well.
  • choking hazard - if they get the earring off.
  • allergic reactions - to the metals in the earrings (especially nickle and gold) she wears, but which can be hard to notice since infants normally rub their ears a lot.
  • embedded earring - this occurs when one part of the earring goes into the earring hole and gets embedded inside. Although this can happen at any age, it can be harder to remove from infants.

How big are the risks? They are likely fairly small, but since baby ear piercing is usually just a cosmetic procedure that can be put off to a safer time, there is little reason to take that even small risk.

Baby Ear Piercing

If you do decide to have your baby's ears pierced, try to wait until she is at least two or three months old, which is when she should be old enough to handle mild infections and will have gotten at least one round of vaccines.

Also consider getting earrings with lock or screw-on backs made of surgical steel (to reduce allergic reactions), which may help decrease your baby's chances of pulling the earring off and swallowing or choking on. And choose a facility that uses sterile equipment and has experience piercing baby ears, such as your pediatrician's office.



Sources:

AAP. Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12.

Complications of body piercing. Meltzer DI - Am Fam Physician - 15-NOV-2005; 72(10): 2029-34.

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