There was an article on the ABC news website about what parents permit their kids to do. It discussed matters like staying out at night, using cell phones, surfing the web--and ear piercing. Interestingly, it said that parents would let their girls get ear piercings as young as 9, and 27 percent of parents said ear-piercing is OK for girls younger than 6 – no other item scored more than 1 percent in that category. Another 20 percent say ear-piercing is appropriate between ages 6 and 11.
Knowing exactly how and where much of this early piercing takes place, I left the following comment:
Parents should know that ear piercing (while quite socially acceptable for young girls these days) is not without its own risks. Especially if the piercing is done by a gun at a kiosk or mall. According to "The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing" (Random House, May 2009):
"These gadgets were originally invented for tagging cattle and other animals, and later adapted for use on humans. The gun forces a pointy earring through the skin, which causes more tissue trauma and discomfort than the razor-sharp needle used by body piercers. The one-size post length does not “fit all” and cannot accommodate a plump earlobe or any swelling; it is certainly not long enough to be worn in a body piercing. The stud earring typically employs a butterfly-style clasp that can inhibit the healing process and increase the risk of infection by compressing the tissue, limiting circulation, and trapping secretions and bacteria."
The book then goes on to describe how disease transmission can take place:
"Blood from a piercee can aerosolize (become airborne in microscopic particles) and contaminate the inside of the reusable gun. These surfaces may come into contact with the next client’s tissue, and it is possible to transmit disease in this way."
Therefore, even for earlobe piercing it is safer to patronize a piercing studio that uses sterile, disposable equipment and quality body jewelry. Look for members of the Association of Professional Piercers who uphold a high standard of hygiene and sanitation: http://www.safepiercing.org