Does Your Child Want Earrings? Here's Why You Should Get Them At Your Pediatrician's Office.
Ear piercings, something some children inquire about and something some parent’s desire. Many will see it occur at jewelry stores in the mall, tattoo shops, and such, but I still have some people surprised to see it happen at a doctor’s office.
Since we have access to medical-grade equipment, are trained in sterilization techniques, and are equipped to handle any potential side effects, we can offer piercings as an option. As with any procedure, there are some risks involved, but we have found that when having this done in a medical setting, and more importantly, with proper technique, the risks are rather minimal. For that reason, parents are often relieved to hear that we offer this service in our office because they feel more comfortable having us perform it.
Now there is no medical reason to pierce a child’s ears, and as such, there is no official “best” time to have it done. Ultimately, the timing and age at which you have this done are up to you and your family. My mother made that decision for me and had my ears pierced at infancy, and I'm not mad. Sometimes families want to have their baby’s ears pierced during infancy so that babies won’t remember how it felt. Some wait until the child can decide. I am happy to offer this once they are 6 months of age after they have received their necessary immunizations.
There are risks involved – mainly infection at the site or scarring. We reduce these risks by using sterile equipment and having you clean the site every day with alcohol or peroxide. This is also why we require vaccinating beforehand. If you do develop an infection, it will usually appear very red, swollen, and may have some associated discharge. Infected piercing sites will also often be quite tender. If you do develop an infection, you should contact your pediatrician right away.
Another risk is the development of allergies to metals, especially to nickel. Because of this, we always use nickel-free posts for all of our earrings. Typically we like to use medical-grade titanium posts since this tends to prevent reactions the best. Stainless surgical steel is another standard and safe option for your child. Other good options are medical plastic or gold.
Whether or not you have your child’s ears pierced at your doctor’s office, it is very important to seek out a trained professional for this. Make sure that the individual performing the procedure washes their hands beforehand, wears gloves, and uses sterile products. The part of the product that touches your skin should come directly out of the packaging before coming in contact with your skin and before touching anything else. It is never a good idea to do this yourself or at a friend’s house.
I always get asked if it will hurt, and of course, the answer is yes, but it truly is a brief pinch, and the pain resolves rather quickly. You may even experience a warm sensation for a few moments afterward as well, which is healthy and lasts only momentarily. To minimize discomfort, I recommend icing the site beforehand or taking Tylenol or Motrin. I do offer numbing cream on the earlobes for 20 minutes before the procedure, and due to this, the ear-piercing is separate from other appointments.
Some clinics might have people trained to do them simultaneously, but in my clinic, I do lobe piercings one at a time to assure the earrings have been placed in the correct position in regards to the other.
What can you expect later on? Generally, we have you keep the first earrings in for six weeks. It is important to turn the earrings and clean them with either alcohol or peroxide every day. Don’t remove the earrings too early, because the holes will actually close up right away. Avoid swimming, especially in a lake or ocean, because of the risk of infection. Be careful when removing clothing or when playing sports, etc. that the earrings do not get caught and/or pulled. If this is happening, it would be best to cover them with bandages over the earlobes to prevent this. Also, when applying make-up, hair sprays, hair dye, etc. it would be best to cover your earlobes to protect them.
It can take a whole year for the holes to completely heal, so consider wearing earrings for the entire year to keep the hole from shrinking. Keep the area around the earrings clean and dry, wash your hands before changing earrings and make sure to wash the earrings or sanitize them with alcohol before using them as well. Take care when changing earrings. Because the skin within the hole is still delicate for almost a year after piercing, there is always the risk of infection if that skin should tear.
Again, there is no medical reason to have your ears pierced. But – if you’re going to have it done, get it done right. If you decide to have it done by a physician, I am all for it; however, if you choose to go outside of the medical community, that’s OK, too – just be sure to seek out a professional who will perform it correctly for you or your child. Remember, there are some risks involved. Make sure you and your child are ready to care for the site properly.
So if you are ready for your child's piercing? Don't worry, I'm ear for you!
Get to know Ankita Singh, D.O.
Dr. Singh is a pediatrician at Cook Children's Pediatrics Walsh Ranch. She was born in India and brought up in Arlington, Texas and enjoyed the simplicity and adventures of being a kid: rollerblading, biking, playing basketball, practicing the violin, dancing and more in the neighborhood and in Arlington schools. "I loved my public schooling and progressed to Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where I had a wonderful education that prepared me for medical school in Fort Worth at UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. I was fortunate to be a medical scribe a year before my entrance and became close to the amazing Cook Children's Emergency docs who I still talk to and now coming full circle will interact with much more. I had wanted to be a pediatrician since 7th grade and here was my chance. Due to this large hospital training, I was able to learn extensively about ill children and I also had skillful training in outpatient clinics that supported the under-served communities." To learn more about Dr. Singh, click here. To make an appointment click here.
Several Cook Children’s primary care offices offer ear piercings at their location. Here is an updated list:
Cook Children’s Pediatrics Fort Worth - Forest Park
3200 Riverfront Drive, Ste. 103, Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cook Children’s Pediatrics Keller – Keller Parkway
1601 Keller Parkway, Keller, Texas 76248
Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.