Your baby is growing up, and they decide they want their ears pierced. But where do you take them? The tween-style jewelry shop that offers ear piercing in-store? The kiosk at the mall whose sign says “free piercing with earring purchase”? Or maybe the piercing stand on the beach boardwalk? Please, for the love of your child’s ears, go to none of these. The surprising 100% best place you can get your child’s ears pierced comfortably and safely? A professional tattoo shop.
Piercing Guns = Clumsy and Destructive
You know those piercing guns that kiosks and mall shops use? They are, by far, the worst “official” way to pierce your ears. It’s not much better than using a safety pin and ice.
Professional piercers at tattoo parlors use sharp, sterile, hollow needles specifically made for clean and low-pain piercing procedures.
The American Piercing Association reports that piercing gun procedures don’t actually cause a safe piercing wound, but a blunt force trauma-esque crushing wound that can damage tissue. The result? A much higher chance of pain, scarring, and infection.
Sterile and Clean Is Paramount
Many a child has walked away from a sub-par piercing station only to have an infection and closed-up piercings a few days or weeks afterwards.
Piercing guns can’t fit in an autoclave. An autoclave is a kind of sterilizing machine used in laboratories, hospitals — and tattoo shops. It’s the gold standard in equipment sterilization. Most modern piercing guns have replaceable parts to cut down on bacteria transfer between piercings, but the bottom line is a piercing gun is never, ever as sterile as equipment in a good tattoo shop.
A tattoo and piercing artist is also very aware of best practices for caring for new piercings. Typically, you’ll want to gently rotate the new earrings and clean the front and back of the child’s earlobes at least twice a day, but the piercer will make sure that you and your child have all the tools and info you need to properly clean new piercings after you leave the shop. They’ll often schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure that the piercings are being cared for and healing properly. You won’t always get that standard of thorough care and knowledge from an amateur piercing station.
Tattoo shop piercers are also trained extensively over at least a year internship. They take courses bloodborne pathogens and even CPR. The rare possibility of an emergency is always accounted for, so the simple act of getting your child’s ears pierced is as safe and low-stress as possible.
Don’t judge a book by its ink. Just because a piercer has their own tattoos and piercings doesn’t mean they’re scary or bad with children. Children are often fascinated by piercings and tattoos, and talk easily with personable piercers. First, good tattoo shop piercers take the time to explain the process to the child. Then, they get the child’s approval of placement and earring choice. Lastly, they talk them through the piercing to keep their stress level low.
Plenty of parents will sit here reading this post and think, “but I don’t want to expose my child to scary tattoo artists. The shops are dark, the people are weird, and it makes me uncomfortable.” Contrary to popular belief, most tattoo shops are wonderful with kids. Schedule a consultation, have your child come with you to meet the piercer, and you might be surprised at how smooth and enjoyable the whole process is.