Child and Infant Ear Piercing Advice

I answered this message:

  I am looking to pierce my almost 9 month old daughters ears; I had a horrible childhood experience with piercing my ears, so I'd like to have hers done so she won't remember it.  I'm having a VERY difficult time finding someone who will do the piercing. I know that she is not at the "ideal" age to have her ears pierced, but I don't want her to have to wait until she's 16 either.  Is there anyone in the ND region that you can recommend that does infant piercings? I have found one business in Fargo, ND that will do it with a needle, but I prefer to go to someone affiated with APP.
Thank you!
My reply:
It is my personal and professional opinion that piercings should only be performed on consenting individuals. What is the harm in waiting and letting her decide for herself? If you can then take her to an APP member piercer, she's assured to have a better experience than you did as a child--don't you think?

The image below right has an arrow to show a common problem: placement of an ear lobe piercing done in infancy looks too low and close to the face now that the piercee is fully grown.

Arrow shows poor placement of ear piercing in infancyThis is what it says about the matter in my book, The Piercing Bible:

Infant and Child Ear Piercing
The debate about piercing the ears of infants and children has two principal elements: the philosophical considerations, which include ideas about cultural identity and owner- ship of the body, and the practical aspects. As examples of different philosophies about body modification, Western parents readily subject their own children to bands of metal that painfully force their teeth into new positions, but they shudder to see youth of the Matseìs tribe of the Amazon sporting sticks through their pierced lips. Similarly, many people think nothing of circumcising a male baby but condemn practices like female genital cutting, or female circumcision, in which the external genitalia of an underage girl is altered, or partially or entirely removed, for cultural or religious reasons.

Every society has its own customs, standards of beauty, and marks of identity; they are part of the glue that holds groups together. Parents naturally want to adhere to established norms and create their children in their own image. Piercing the ears of young girls is a fairly established practice in the Western world, and some pierers are amenable—but no ethical piercer would consider piercing any other part of a youngster.

I will perform piercings only on individuals who specifically consent to the act and agree to comply with maintenance procedures during healing. Obviously, this includes declining to pierce babies or toddlers who are too young to grasp the situation—and all animals, of course. I will pierce the earlobes of a child who is old enough to knowingly make the request for it. He or she must also comprehend the need to keep dirty fingers away during healing and promise to abide by my instructions, usually with a parent’s help. Many of my colleagues share my standards, though some are more accommodating, and others even stricter.
If you decide to proceed with piercing the ears of your child who does not meet those common minimum requirements, one practical consideration is that you might find it difficult to locate a qualified piercer who is willing to do the job. You may be tempted to visit a jewelry kiosk or accessory store that uses an ear-piercing gun. Don’t. Your best option may be to seek a sympathetic pediatrician or dermatologist who is trained in ear piercing.

If you are interested in having your child’s ears pierced, consider the following practical matters.

•    The risk of infection is high if your child is not old enough to refrain from touching the piercings, either because she is too young to understand the instructions or she does not yet have the self-discipline.
•    A piercing positioned in the center of your baby’s earlobes sometimes ends up being too low or close to her face when she’s grown.
•    Established earlobe piercings seldom close completely, and they do leave a permanent mark (however small) if abandoned later.
•    Doctors blame the rise in nickel allergies on the popularity of ear piercings done with inferior-quality jewelry. Once they have developed, these allergies may be severe and lifelong. For more information, see “Dermatitis,” page 212.

She replied:

Thank you so much for your honest feedback!  I've always thought it was really cute to see babies with their ears pierced, but knew that I only wanted her ears to be pierced with a needle and not a gun.  I will end up waiting until she's older, specifically because I haven't found anyone willing to do the piercing that is a member of APP.  And hopefully, like you stated, both my girls(I have another daughter that is 2) will have a more positive experience! Thank you again for you feedback :)