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Q&A:
When is it safe to pierce my 2-month-old's ears?

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Question


At what age is it considered safe to pierce my 2-month-old daughter's ears? Where do you recommend I take her to have it done (I'm a little "iffy" on taking her to the mall)?

Answer

I have not been able to find a recommended safe age for ear piercing. However, it is generally believed that the older the infant or child, the better able she is to handle an infection due to the piercing, should it occur. It is the standard of care throughout the country for infants under 3 months of age with a fever to have a thorough work-up including blood tests and sometimes spinal fluid tests. This is not meant to frighten you, but I do think we often take traditional practices such as ear piercing too lightly. Although there are few serious risks associated with ear piercing, the incidence of complications is quite high. The most common complications are allergic contact dermatitis, inflammation, bleeding, infection with or without drainage, cyst formation, and torn earlobes. Trauma can also occur to the earlobe from pulling on the earring or falling on the earlobe with an earring inserted. Interestingly enough, in a study I reviewed the frequency of complications did not differ significantly with the medical qualifications of the person performing the procedure. I suggest you ask your health care provider for recommendations in your area. You want to make sure the equipment being used to pierce is sterile, and the person doing it practices good hygiene.

 
 
 
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