Ear piercing – whose decision?


Look at that lovely little squidgy ear!

I’ll give you some advanced warning – this post is a bit moany and not very funny. Sorry about that. So you’re 17 (I know, just imagine/try to remember). You want a tattoo so off you trot to wherever does tattoos. You’re turned away, though; even if your parent was in tow, the legal age to get ink on your body is 18.

You go to the off license. You’re turned away there, too – 18 is again the legal limit for buying booze. Cigarettes, 16. All of this seems fair and reasonable, right?

But…if you’re a baby or toddler and you have no choice in the matter, no ability to make a decision or fight your corner, as long as you’re over 6 months then Claire’s Accessories or A.N.Other piercing place can punch holes in your ears. Is that fair and reasonable?

It’s all cosmetic
I’ll be honest, I don’t like seeing toddlers and babies with their ears pierced. That is my opinion (which we can share, if you agree). It is easy to judge the parents and – I admit it – as someone who finds it hard to restrain Bear to have her vaccinations, I do wonder how mums/dads can voluntarily hold their baby or toddler down to have something that isn’t going to protect them from serious illness, and that is purely cosmetic.

And that’s it, isn’t it? It is PURELY cosmetic. We all harp on about how beautiful and gorgeous our babies are – because they are, because they’re babies. But the thought process whereby “but earrings/an earring would really make them perfect” is something I can’t get my head around. Isn’t it rather unfair to force a totally optional *thing* on anyone? Isn’t this especially so on a child who isn’t able to make a decision about anything in the first place, because they’re so young?

But my argument isn’t actually with the parents. We all do things differently – bedtime, bathtime, food, drink, TV blah blah blah. Live and let live, as long as you’re not hurting me (or coming at Bear with an ear piercing gun) it’s none of my business. My issue is with the retailers.

Cashing in on a lack of law?
At Claire’s Accessories, which purports to be ‘the world’s leading ear piercing specialist’ you need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian if you are under 16. That sounds ok doesn’t it? But what about the fact that the child actually only needs to be older than 6 months (with proof of all immunisations) to get them done. Is that really ok?

Scotland has a consent age of at least 16 for ear piercings, but there are no laws regulating piercings for minors in England and Wales. So by allowing a 6 month old to go through the procedure, are the likes of Claire’s Accessorises simply cashing in on a lack of legal limit when they could (should?) have a duty of care to young children who are incapable of making their own decisions yet?

Or am I just being a grumpy cowbag?

7 thoughts on “Ear piercing – whose decision?

  1. You do not actually state an age you deem it acceptable. A determined 3 yo? Not until you enter adulthood?
    I had ears pierced from an early age and there was nothing more exciting than choosing new earrings.

    • I do say live and let live; each to their own, it’s just my opinion. I PERSONALLY don’t like to see it and wouldn’t do it, but perhaps you wouldn’t approve of the length of time the TV is on in my house 🙂 Each to their own. I don’t know what age I think is acceptable (I was 13 when I had mine done). But what you say about it being exciting to choose new earrings (which it was! I remember looking forward to it myself!) is where I am coming from – the ability to make a CHOICE isn’t there when a child is a matter of months old. In my opinion, which is all this is really, the retailers could make a stand to say that a consent form needs to be signed/written on by both the person having them done and the parent (if under 16) so that at least the consent is given from the very person going through it.

  2. Hey! I pretty much agree with you here. I know piercings and other forms of body modifications are a tribal tradition in certain areas of the world, however I still really hate it when I’m walking past Claire’s and I can hear a poor 9 month old kid screaming cause they’ve got no idea what’s going on, just that their ears hurt.
    Plus, I’m just generally against Claire’s whole ear piercing…thing. They pierce with guns (which causes way more unnecessary trauma for the skin tissue, its not always as clean and as accurate as piercing with clamps and a needle), and not to mention they pierce right there in the middle of the store. And Claire’s shops aren’t always that big or spacious, so god knows what kind of germs are floating around, and plus, its just not very private. Proper piercing/tattoo studios usually have rooms off the main shop where they can pierce/tattoo in a more private, sterile way.
    I guess, at the end of the day, its up to the parents, I know I certainly wouldn’t make my kid get their ears pierced when they’re so young, I’d definitely let them make the choice when they’re older. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 13 or so, but I made my own decision, as I have with my other piercings.

    • Yes I was about 13 too – I remember having it done with my Mum there, but it had been my decision, plus I was old enough to look after them. I definitely agree that it’s up to the parents, and like you while I wouldn’t dream of it for my daughter – and I don’t like seeing little children with their ears pierced – it is a case of ‘live and let live’. We all do things differently, I can’t not accept that. But for all the reasons you mention above, plus the fact that any similar infliction of unconsented pain would be considered child cruelty, I do think the likes of Claire’s should do more. I doubt anyone would criticise them for changing their rules and imposing an “over 16s” policy, for example. Interestingly I have heard that one of the main ear piercing qualifications/accreditations advises those with the piercing gun to never pierce anyone under 5; their ears are still growing and it could damage their ears longer term. I am sure Claire’s knows this too, but again seem to be cashing in on a lack of law.

      • Exactly, if I was a professional piercer I would refuse to pierce such young children.
        I know they’re not going to remember the pain and ordeal but its still really unfair to them, I guess if you want your child to look nice then get them a pretty outfit or something? I don’t know, I don’t have children so I’m in no place to tell parents how to treat their kids. I also don’t think Claire’s should boast about being “top piercing specialists” either, but…

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