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For many parents and children, ear piercings are a rite of passage. And parents have a few options when it comes to piercing their children's ears. Some pediatricians will offer to do it, professional tattoo and piercing parlors are perhaps the most experienced option, and then there are the jewelry stores in the mall.
Then again, there are home piercing kits or even a sterilized needle in the kitchen or bathroom. But those parents turning to the home piercing option face an interesting legal question: Is it illegal to pierce your children's ears at home? And how old do they need to be before you can do it?
Lack of Ear Lobe Laws?
Generally speaking, there are no laws than ban pierced ears for children. And some parents choose to pierce their kids' ears almost as soon as they are born. When it comes to determining how early children can have their ears pierced, doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital recommend waiting until 3 or 4 months old, when your child has had at least one or two sets of vaccines and a fever it is not as concerning as when they are newborns. If you want to wait later, Parents Magazine suggests giving children until they're 10 and can make their own decision about piercing and be more likely to keep the piercings clean on their own.
Also, while professional piercers may need to be licensed depending on where they work, you won't need to be licensed in order to pierce your children's ears at home.
Some Sticking Statutes
All that being said, there are child abuse and endangerment laws to be wary of. If you're taking proper care to make the process as painless as possible and keep the piercings clean and infection-free, you're probably going to be alright. However, if you carelessly injure your child during the piercing or you're negligent in cleaning the piercing and that leads to an infection or sickness, you could run afoul of child abuse or neglect laws.
If you're thinking of piercing your child's ears, consider turning to the professionals. And if you're determined to do it at home, consider consulting an attorney first.