Ear Piercing Aftercare for Children: What You Need to Know

For some children, the decision to get their ears pierced is an intentional and long-planned one. For others, it comes as a spur-of-the-moment impulse when they pass the jewelry store at the shopping mall.

Either way, as the parent, it’s important to know how to handle their new piercing with care.

With the right approach to ear piercing aftercare, you can ensure their experience is an enjoyable and comfortable one. If you skip these steps, the risk of infection and discomfort is higher. Today, we’re sharing the procedures to follow and the tips that can help.

Understanding the Procedure

Before we dive into our list of ear piercing aftercare tips, let’s briefly discuss what you can expect during the process. Your first step should be finding a clean, safe piercing location and a licensed professional.

While the result is undeniably adorable, the reality is that this is a medical procedure that creates an open wound in your child. As such, there is a high risk of infection if it is handled incorrectly. For the best outcome, experts recommend asking your pediatrician if they could perform the piercing in their office.

If they’re unable to accommodate that request, they should at least be able to point you in the direction of a reputable facility that can take care of the task for you.

Depending on the location, the piercing technician will use either a piercing gun or a needle to pierce your child’s ears. It is critical to ensure that their facility is clean, safe, and sterile and that the person handling the tools is licensed and qualified to do so. Once they mark the exact spot where the piercing will be, they will use the tool to create a hole where that spot was.

Then, they will insert the earrings that you and your child have chosen. Due to the risk of metal allergies, it’s best to stick with sterling silver or gold earrings. You can find adorable and unique styles of body pierce jewelry from trusted and vetted online retailers.

A Note on Newborn Ear Piercing

While there are few things cuter than a newborn dressed to the nines, we don’t advise piercing your newborn’s ears. It’s best to wait until they’re at least three months old before proceeding.

Why the wait? If a newborn develops a fever or any type of adverse reaction from the piercing, they would likely need to go to the hospital, as this is standard protocol in most areas. You can help avoid that stressful and expensive trip by waiting just a little while longer.

Ear Piercing Aftercare: Top 10 Tips to Know

As long as you’ve done your due diligence, you can trust that the piercing technician will do their part to ensure your child’s piercing is clean and sterile. From there, it’s up to you and your child to keep the piercing site clean.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top ways to do so.

1. Clean It Frequently

It isn’t enough to simply clean your child’s piercing once a night before they go to bed. Rather, you’ll need to clean the site at least two times per day.

The facility might have sent you home with a bottle of cleaning solution. If they did, then go ahead and use that. The solution has been specially formulated to be gentle on your child’s ears but tough against germs and infection.

You can also use rubbing alcohol to clean around the infection site. Make sure to use a new, clean cotton swab each time you clean it. For extra protection, apply a layer of antibiotic ointment on the site to ward off infection.

2. Avoid Excessive Touching

It’s natural for your child to be curious about their new piercing. Especially if they’re very little, they might want to twist and turn it all day or night.

The only problem? Hands are full of germs. Any time you touch a piercing, you’re introducing new bacteria that wasn’t there before. This heightens your child’s risk of infection.

To the greatest extent possible, try to remind your child to keep their hands off of the new piercing. In addition, encourage them to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water. This is one reason why experts recommend waiting to pierce your child’s ears until their a little older.

At that time, they should have the maturity and self-control to keep their hands off their piercing so it can heal.

3. Wash Your Hands

Any time you need to touch the site of the piercing, including when you clean it, make sure your hands are clean and sanitary. This means following the correct handwashing procedure, rather than just splashing some water on your hands and calling it a day.

It seems straightforward, but not everyone knows the specific steps to follow when washing their hands. Here’s a look at the official technique, provided by the CDC.

4. Clean Front and Back

When cleaning your child’s ear lobe piercing, make sure you aren’t focusing all of your attention on the back of their ears. While infections can often occur near where the earring back meets the post, they can also occur on the front.

Take your time and make sure you’re fully saturating the entire area. Most solutions dry in a matter of minutes, so you don’t have to worry about using too much.

5. Rotate the Piercing

Yes, we know we just said not to touch the piercing. However, you will need to touch it to turn the post periodically. If the post remains in one spot for too long, the skin around the piercing could begin to adhere to the post.

This can make it painful to switch out your child’s earrings for new ones. It can also irritate the open wound and lead to complications and infections. You don’t have to rotate the earrings every single time you clean the site but aim to do so at least a few times each week.

6. Do Not Remove Before Sleep

Once the piercing site heals, your child will be able to take their earrings out, swap the original posts for fun new ones, and take them out while they sleep.

However, it’s important to leave them in completely until the healing process is complete. Most piercing technicians recommend allowing between six and eight weeks for the site to heal fully.

Of course, if your child develops an infection in response to the piercing, you will need to remove it to prevent further illness. To keep them comfortable throughout the night, you may want to consider flexible, plastic posts instead of rigid, metal ones.

7. Check the Backs Each Time

Many of us are all too familiar with the stress of searching for a spare earring back! The tiny accessories are responsible for keeping your earrings in, but they’re very easy to lose.

While you can’t completely prevent your child from losing an earring on the playground, you can help keep their backs on for as long as possible. Each time you clean their ears, check the back and make sure it’s secure.

8. Be Cautious of Snags

If your child chooses tiny studs for their first earrings, then this is less of an issue. However, if the pair they picked are dangly at all, then there’s a chance that they could get caught on their shirt, hairbrush, or even their headphones!

Talk to them about how to avoid those snags. Remind them not to push or pull on their earrings when they’re around objects that could entangle them.

9. Don’t Swim

If your child pierces their ear in the summer, you might not be able to get around the thrill of lakes, swimming pools, and oceans. However, it’s best not to submerge them completely underwater while their piercing site is still healing.

This opens the wound up to infection by exposing the wound to more germs. Give it the requisite six to eight weeks, and then tell your child they’re free to splash in the deep end!

10. Know the Signs of Infection

Are you wondering if your kids ear piercing might have gotten infected? If so, be on the lookout for any of these signs near the piercing site:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Pus
  • Pain

Call your child’s pediatrician immediately if they have any of these symptoms and they last more than 24 hours.

Optimize the Ear Piercing Aftercare Process

The process of piercing an ear takes only a few seconds. The most important part of the journey starts once you and your child arrive back home.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the top ear piercing aftercare tips, you should be able to start this exciting journey in confidence. With the right approach, you can help ensure that your child’s experience is safe, clean, and enjoyable!

Looking for more ways to encourage your budding fashionista? Check out our Fashion section!

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