Should Ear Piercing For Babies And Toddlers Be Banned?

7 June 2015

Baby ear piercing

A campaign to ban ear piercing for toddlers and babies has been launched.

The online petition, created on campaigning website 38 degrees, calls for a ban on ear piercing for babies and toddlers. The campaign information reads:

TO: MINISTER FOR CHILDREN EDWARD TIMPSON
Ban ear piercing for babies/toddlers
Make it illegal for babies/toddlers to get their ears pierced. Set a minimum legal age requirement.
Why is this important?

It is a form of child cruelty. Severe pain and fear is inflicted upon infants unnecessarily. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy the parent's vanity. Other forms of physically harming children are illegal - this should be no different.

A total of 19, 309 individuals have signed the online petition thus far.

Comments from those who have signed the petition include:

"It should be the child's decision as to whether they have their ears pierced or not, as long as they know how to care for it and the consequences if they don't. Babies and toddlers are far too young to make that decision and it causes unnecessary pain for them."

Have you had your baby or toddler's ears pierced, or do you agree that it's an act of cruelty to which a minimum legal age should be applied?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this in our comments - you can also follow the discussion over on our Facebook page.


Image credit: Morguefile

61 comments

  • louiselouise
    I think babies/tots with pierced ears is tacky looking! Any body modifications (yes, I know it's not akin to a tattoo or hole punch!) should be done when a child is old enough to have an opinion. Having ears pierced isn't painful (as far as I can remember! had mine pierced at 13 years old) but cheap earrings, obviously, can cause great discomfort to little ones who might not be able to articulate it well. Haven't seen hooped earrings on a youngster often, but there's the obvious danger of injury with those, too.
  • smallanie
    ban it. full stop
  • jurgita22
    i have had my daughters ears pierced when she was just over 2 years old - and i regret doing it, big time. not only she has a fear of any type of doctor/nurse looking person, with any type of medical tools in their hands,- she also doesn't like places that looks like doctors office- i had it pierced in a salon with loads of white doors near the treatment area so she has a fear of that too. i so wish i never agreed to this- it wasn't my idea to start with- she got given tiny diamond studs for her 2nd birthday, so i kinda felt bad cause she cant wear them... if you have a daughter and thinking to get her tiny little ears pierced- don't! let her decide when and if she wants her ears done.
  • Jessicarose2015
    I am in favor to keeping this 'issue' legal, infact untouched. I dont hear or see any major bad news, about child ear piercings. Infact, if ears are pierced from birth or from very early ages of life, your ears remain with the hole for a stud for many years, and in many cases this can be usefull, money saving.. Time saving.. Its never really been a problem..
  • neuza
    My daughter has her ears pierced, she didn't cry and I don't see it as a form of abuse but simply tradition just as I had mine and my mum had hers and so on!
  • Paulinefarrington
    My daughter has her ears done got them just over a year old and my son has his done aswell who is 13yrs it's a personal choice some people like it and others don't and the people who don't is the ones sho have a lot to say about it
  • PetraLF
    It should stay as it is. I'm having my 6 months old daughter's ears pierced on Wednesday by doctor with special gun. It can be traumatic if you leave it too late - from birth to about 10 months. And have golden earrings!
  • KateCrunch
    I don't see why you would want to purposely put holes in your perfect baby's body causing them pain just for your pleasure.
  • Natxxx
    No!!!!!!! Both my girls were under 6 weeks old , they don't remember a thing and love wearing earrings, my friends daughter age 8 wanted her ears done for her birthday and to this day has still only got one hole done, she was traumatised by the situation, as babies u get less infections, no hair to get caught round them,ect ......
  • KateCrunch
    If ear piercing can be such a traumatic experience then that's even more reason it shouldn't be for babies!!!
  • Jade37733
    not at all I had mine done when I was 1 and can't remember a thing. My 2 nearly 3 year old asked for hers to be done I explained it would hurt and she was adamant she wanted them doing so I took her and she was absolutely fine. Each to their own and all that! The wording on the poll isn't very good saying its up to the parents yes it is but it could of just been a simple no. There are people reacting way over the top saying its abuse! There's worse things happening in the world if it was really that bad there would already be laws against it.
  • emjae
    I had my daughter's done at 6 month old. We felt it was better to get them done when she was younger, just how we felt. It shouldn't matter when they have them done whether they are babies or older. People say it should be the child's decision but at the end of the day it's still the parent that has the end decision as no respectable piercing place will do them without the adults consent.
  • rebecca7392
    Ban Ban Ban It's disgusting that parents take something so perfect and punch holes in it. I also think it's a class issue. You would never expect Will and Kate to have Princess Charlotte's ears pierced. I completely agree that this is child abuse, serving no purpose to the child other than to inflict pain and long term damage. Horrid and common in my opinion
  • HM79
    Asian, hispanic, African people are more prone to developing keloids during the ages of 10 years to 20 years, so it should be left to parents to decide when is the best time to have gheir children's ears pierced.
  • Tweet34
    It should stay as it is. I'm having my 6 months old daughter's ears pierced on Wednesday by doctor with special gun. It can be traumatic if you leave it too late - from birth to about 10 months. And have golden earrings!
    Really??! 6 months old?? Sorry but I really disagree with this, it causes pain and doesn't look Nice at all!!! I could never inflict this pain on my children....EVER!!!
  • dizzybird33
    I had my daughters ears pierced at 6months old. She didn't cry and was over within seconded. I personally believe the younger the child has it done the better it is for them. Her cousin had hers done at 3yrs old. They got infected as she played with them constantly! (Both done at the same place) when a child is young they forget about them being there! If when they are older and don't want them they can remove them. Why take away a parents choice? Next it'll be how to discipline your child or how to dress them! Let the child's parent decide what they think is best for them not society or a bunch of people that have nothing better to do than moan!
  • louiselouise
    @Jessicarose2015, your quote "Infact, if ears are pierced from birth or from very early ages of life, your ears remain with the hole for a stud for many years, and in many cases this can be usefull, money saving.. Time saving.. Its never really been a problem.." In what way is puncturing a young child's skin "usefull" (sic), "money saving"? I'm not sure I understand your point. They have many more years ahead of them to make a decision about how they look and develop their own style. Ear piercing is merely a fashion accessory, a choice, like a parent choosing a child's clothes or hairstyle (but children DO need to be clothed well and well-groomed). Ear piercing is not a necessity, it is just some parents' ill-placed vanity. I still think it is tacky and I feel sorry for little babies and tots with pierced ears. They have to put up with the discomfort and I don't think, personally, that it looks good. There's absolutely no need to injure their beautiful skin.
  • louiselouise
    @rebecca7392 you could be right about it being a class issue, you rarely see tots in more affluent areas with pierced ears.
  • De80
    It breaks ny heart when they have to have vaccinations never mind some thing like this for vanity!!!
  • Claire456789
    At what point in life did it become everyone's right to judge other people?? Why should you concern yourself with what other people are doing? It has no bearing on your life so why bother with it! FYI, I got my daughters ears pierced on her 3rd birthday because she asked for them to be done. I explained it would hurt and she still wanted them done. She cried when they were done but was smiling literally 2 minutes later and thanked the lady on the way out of the shop. I may not agree with newborn babies having them done, but it's none of my business.
  • louiselouise
    The problems with ear piercing are consent (which younger children cannot give) and pain/discomfort/likelihood of injury. Personally we encountered up with this a few years back when my niece was around one year old (too young to give her opinion) and my sister's ex (whose family happen to be a rough lot: not only did all their tots have pierced ears but they liked to have their little ones wearing gold jewellery at an early age!!) went out and got her ears pierced, knowing our family were all against it! Her ears were so sore looking my heart broke for her. Unfortunately, people do judge (just look at Mumsnet and see the bun fights that go on!)
  • Bexabo
    I had mine done at aged 13 and it hurt me always wanted my littles ones to have pierced ears but made the decision that it would be there choice I wouldn't force them and one chose to get her ears pierced at 9 and the other was 8 did tell them it hurt and if they got one side pierced and didn't like it then they would just have to look silly with one ear pierced luckily they both sat as good as gold for them to be done
  • Jessica90
    I myself have multiple piercings and have had many complications despite having them done at reputable studios. I do consider piercing a babies ears as child abuse. The last thing on my mind when i look at my beautiful perfect toddler with her perfect ears is to have them pierced! I think not only does it look tacky but it comes with many risks. Who ever the hell mentioned that it saves money in a previous comment is unbelievable! I think it should be banned its ridiculous!!
  • Bluerosenw
    My little girl had her ears pierced age 2 she was asking from 1 year old to have pretty sparkles like mummy, I explained that it would hurt and showed her the permanent hole in mummies ear and explained that she would always have that too and I gave her ear a pinch to demonstrate it would hurt and said mummy thinks she should wait until she was older, but she pestered me for a whole 6 months to get her ears done, I had them done at a Claire's accessories I had solid 18ct studs and both ears pierced at the same time, she never cried, flinched, shouted out and she was over the moon with her sparkles and she's never shed a tear or had a bad thing to say about them since either, she still loves them at nearly 4 years old. in the current day society where children are growiing and developing faster than ever I feel it is important to listen to them and be open and honest with them from a young age, my daughter is 3 and she can copy any writing, count, ballet dance, swim, hold a conversation and make points to back up what she's saying, if she's asks me for something good or bad or indifferent I explain everything to her, make sure she genuinely understands and we make an informed decision together. Of course there are things where as a parent we need to draw the line that's our job to protect our kids, but I am sure that when seeing/reading the horror stories in the media of child abuse that is happening everyday, most of us do not think of a parent taking their child to get their ears pierced. We think of neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse. Please if you are going to use this amount of energy on something make it something truly worthwhile. xxx
  • kerrysmith123
    For god sake ear piercing for babies/toddlers has been around for years and years what's wrong with people, it's not abuse at all me,my sisters and other family members all had our ears pierced when we was babies/toddlers and it's had no bad Effect on us at all. People are too busy to ban this and ban that. Surely there's other things to ban other than piercing babies/ toddlers ears!!!
  • mo1324
    I had mine done as a baby, now I am 32 and I am angry with my mum for that. I don't like wearing earings and at the same time I don't want to have little holes in my ears. It is annoying that it was decided for me!!!
  • mummytoorose
    I had my ears peirsed at 1 year old. Now 21 I have went over a year at times without earrings in and hole it still there. I wanted to get my daughter's done at 1 the same as me. I quickly changed my mind after the state she got in after her jags. I waited until my daughter said she wanted them done. She asked just after her 4th birthday, as her aunt (age 5) aslo wanted them done. I see no problem with babies and toddlers getting there ears peirced. In some cases it is needed. My cousin got hers done at the same time as me, as she was 18months with no hair everyone thought she was a boy, my aunt felt the need to get them done to show she was a girl. Even in the frilliest pink dresses my cousin was mistaken for a boy, after her ears were pierced she wasn't. Everything should stay as it is. If a parent thinks it's cruel, don't get it done. Simple.
  • Sheryl20690
    I can't believe some of the stuff I am reading 'why take away the parents choice' .... How selfish can you be. Your child is to young to talk yet you think it's acceptable to do that , it's their own choice to make when they are older . Some people are talking like its a procedure that must be done as young as possible .... For all you know if they had the choice they might of chosen never to get them pierced.... But because you decided to not 'have your choice taken away ' you took your child's choice away .... Tut
  • 1username
    I am all in favour of piercings and tattoos at any age, it makes it so much quicker to spot the chavs
  • Anjp76
    I had my ears pierced at 8 - it never crossed my mind at all to have my daughters ears pierced until she was 6 and started asking about having them done. To have had her ears pierced earlier would have taken a choice away from her. Personally I don't agree with babies or toddlers having ears pierced - as for banning it - well yes I do think there should be an age restriction.
  • louiselouise
    In its simplest term, earrings are body modification. Does a young baby/toddler need it? No. It's just a parent forcing a child to look a certain way, and it doesn't necessarily look good. Calling it "child abuse" is taking things a bit far, but then so is "It's a parent's choice" (rather weak argument, as it's not). At an age where a child can't give a reasoned insight about what they choose, the parent has the responsibility to ask: Am I doing it for ME, or is it in the best interests of my child? @1username, as much as I chuckled at your comment unfortunately some people do think that way!
  • idlelass
    It's quite an old custom..my mum was roman Catholic , born in 1929 and had hers pierced as a christening gift..never caused her problems...
  • rjfoulds90
    Babies don't remember and children do and become traumatised. They forget that they're there and don't mess with them like older children do. I was two when I had mine first ones done, I don't remember it but I do remember having them redone and having a second lot done. With babies they are able to do both ears at once which doesn't make it as painful cause you don't have the anticipation of having one ear then the other being done and as long as the parent keeps the ears clean there shouldn't be chance of an infection unless there's an allergy, so wouldn't that be something useful to find out when they're young. But like others have said it should be up to the parents and there are so many other worse things happening in the world. If you're looking to ban something make it useful and not something that should be up to a parent. I plan on having my daughter's ears pierced but I'm not doing it for vanity reasons I'm doing it cause from past experience I have seen and experienced that you don't remember the pain when your young and aren't traumatised by the experience.
  • emalia12
    cant believe how many people out there are so uneducated. .. abuse what a lot of crap.... then you're really are blind at what happening in world with real abuse. .... piercing is not abuse its no different to them havein there jabs done.... in my culture its done and looks very pretty on babies and little girls its very feminine . and if you get it done b4 there toddler stage there be no fear or lasting bad pemories . i would say have there immunisation jabs is worse....
  • Sally6098
    I had my twins done at 9 mth an they forgot about it there 2 now an never mess with them they point at there box of studs an I change em they then look in the mirror an say wit woo pwitty so no I think it's person choice I had mine done at 5 an I remember the pain well plus I played with them an they got infected
  • Jocrab
    Why are people talking about it like it's a mandatory thing? 'gets it over and done with' they won't remember it' Since when did it become your little girl MUST get her ears pierced therefore get it over and done with!? I always told my daughter she could get them done when she decided. When she understood that it would hurt but wanted them doing anyway. That age was 6. Getting a baby's ears pierced is for your pleasure only. What if your child doesn't actually want them doing?? I've come across many females with unpierced ears and are happy to keep it that way.
  • swhr23
    I think the people who wants it banned are wrong. Who gives others the right to judge people over their own choices for their child. I bet the person who started this petition is a sad person with nothing better to do. If someone wants to get their child's ear piereced thats their business. All im sayin some people need to get over themselves and go and focus on the real bad things happening in the world!!!!
  • Charleys1993
    People who think its wrong getting younge childs ear done i had my little girls done at 5 months old she fine did even know she had them done didnt cry or anything.so if u wanna take u 2 years and above child... good luck to u sleepless nights n saying they hurt i have 6 peircings and no one hurt....
  • NicB5386
    I think the 'my child asked when they were 1/2/3 years old' argument is ridiculous. I asked when I was little too and was rightly told "No" by my mum. That's called parenting! Sometimes you have to say no to your kids to teach them that they can't have everything they want. As for the people piercing their kids who are weeks or months old I think it's disgusting and they should be held accountable. Of course it's not on a level with sexual or extreme physical abuse, but does that mean it's ok to put a child through completely unnecessary pain for your pleasure?!
  • KimmyJ
    I think it should be the childs choice, I personally dont like piercing in younger children i dont think it should be forced upon them at all but that is my personal choice
  • Jenasume
    i had my daughters eard done, once she had, had all of her jabs many places won't let you do it until they can see on the babies read book they have had there injections, yes she cried for a split second and it was over, I had my ears done at s young age I cannot remember p having them done. My step daughter however wanted hers done last year and only got one ear done due to the pain and returning the next day to have the other done, now she has completely taken them out, It's not a form of child abuse, I even had an argument in the shop at the time with a lady and her daughters who couldn't help but stand there and hurl abuse at me!!
  • aprilmm
    I got mine pierced when i was 3 my princess will be gettig hers done because she wants them at 3.. ppl need to worry about more important things. .. i dnt remember being terrified. . It was an exciting day were i was gna start nursery and i was all grown up.. get a life ppl !!!
  • Loops17
    It is against the law if a child cannot willingly consent to having their ears pierced and parents and shops should be prosecuted for doing this as I've done ear piercing training!
  • loulou96
    Its disgusting you night aswell take them to get a tattoo whilst your there or just get there lip done. Parents that get this done are irresponsible idiots it's for the own self preservation because they know they can anymore, it should be band and agains the law and if anyone done have it done a fine and the child taking off them
  • leanneba
    I had my sons ears done just after his 2nd birthday and he cried for about 2 mins. And then he was fine. He loves showing his earrings of when he as one in. He still to this day as never bothered him. He was abit fussy at first when it come to cleaning them but he was fine within a few weeks. I got my daughters ears done just after her first birthday n got them done one by one as she wouldnt sit still to get them bothdone at the same time. She cried for about a second n then just laughed they did the second ear and she did the same again. Having my children ears done as not affected them in any way what so ever. Its up to the parents if they choose to get there ears done or not and the percentage of girls want there ears done when they get older anyway. I dont see the arm in getting them done.
  • altaylor
    I had my ears pierced at approx 2 years old, i dont remember it AT ALL. I then had a second set pierced above the original ones when i was about 14 and iv had problem after problem with them and havnt worn them for several years. The original holes from when i was 2 have stayed in extremely good condition and iv never had a problem, wear them everyday. Im glad my mum made the decision that young for me! Its not child abuse in the slightest. Wasting time on ridiculous petitions like this when time and effort could be focused on real issues and real abuse issues at that.
  • reece0112
    My granddaughter has just had hers done in the last 2 weeks. Aha has been fine. She did not cry when they were done and there have been no problems since. In my opinion if you don't want to cause your child in nesseccary pain, then don't get them done. Otherwise don't dictate. What you consider to be child abuse. Is utter nonsense. People have been piercing their ears for years. Get a grip you bunch of do gooders...
  • adelesf1234
    You are all sick in the head causing pain to baby's for vanity. Was having your baby's injections not bad enough. Also it looks chavy.
  • MrsSampo
    Get a life "nanny state". Personally I wouldn't get my children's ears pierced as I think it looks chavvy. However, some people like it and it is custom in some cultures. Parents should have the right to choose. It's not abuse, it is no more painful than them falling over or having their routine vaccinations. Leave it alone. If you don't agree with it then don't let your children have it done. Personally I believe worse abuse come from feeding your child junk food, fruit shoots and smoking around them. Holes in your ears doesn't have any long term effect on health. Poor diet and smoking does. But still....your child, your choice
  • Noneya
    This would by far be the stupidest law there is! I'm getting my baby's ears done at 3 months! I had mine done at 6 weeks and nothing bad ever happened! So stupid!
  • Lilmissconcerned
    It should stay as it is. I'm having my 6 months old daughter's ears pierced on Wednesday by doctor with special gun. It can be traumatic if you leave it too late - from birth to about 10 months. And have golden earrings!
    Really??! 6 months old?? Sorry but I really disagree with this, it causes pain and doesn't look Nice at all!!! I could never inflict this pain on my children....EVER!!!
    My daughter had hers done at 7 months she's absolutely loves them after her first ear she actually turned her head for the next one to be done it didn't hurt her and once more Ffs there so much more going on in the world than to argue over two tiny holes that will never close up no infections etc I'm happy my parents had mine done when I was one as I can go years without wearing earrings then pop some in of I want too !! These people complaining about it must have nothing better to do with their lives .......
  • mandi25
    i got my daughters done at 11mnths she never batted an aye, have never had any infections or any other problems .this should be left away from courts ,for goodness sake if you are against it dont get your kids done it's that simple .
  • Hayleyhughes9
    Any respectable place won't pierce your baby's ears below the age of 12 months because they should have had all their jags to help prevent them from infection. People saying that they had it done to their kids below this age is highly Unresponsible.
  • Debzy001
    It should stay as it is. I'm having my 6 months old daughter's ears pierced on Wednesday by doctor with special gun. It can be traumatic if you leave it too late - from birth to about 10 months. And have golden earrings!
    Really??! 6 months old?? Sorry but I really disagree with this, it causes pain and doesn't look Nice at all!!! I could never inflict this pain on my children....EVER!!!
    It's absolutely disgusting u wouldn't jam a needle through her hand so how is paying for someone else to shove holes in her ears any different. U not doing it for your daughter your doing it for you. (My guess to show off to other mum) think about the pain and the possibility of permanent damage trust me I know how awful the damage can be if they get infected.
  • Debzy001
    I am in favor to keeping this 'issue' legal, infact untouched. I dont hear or see any major bad news, about child ear piercings. Infact, if ears are pierced from birth or from very early ages of life, your ears remain with the hole for a stud for many years, and in many cases this can be usefull, money saving.. Time saving.. Its never really been a problem..
    Wow your more concerned with saving money and time than your child's welfare. Selfish selfish selfish!!!!
  • LABISHOP
    Only if you are willing to aso stop circumcision also. Little boys do not give consent. Stop trying to control what parents are allowed to do with their children It is their responsibility not everyone elses. Parents decide. Government steps in when abuse is found. Otherwise, leave the Children alone.
  • sujeyzamorano
    Ban it please !!!! I have a baby girl she's 9 months old and it hurts me seeing her get shots and i definitely wouldn't hurt her more!!!
  • hellotoyouandme
    If young children happens to have an earache or any other types of ear pain, it would be inevitable for them to touch their ear by playing, tugging, or pulling at it. They want to rid their discomfort from it so they would often cry and be constantly touching it. It is their way to let someone know what's bothering them and desperately needs help to stop the pain. OR, they might even try to accidentally or intentionally yank out the unnatural and intrusive foreign objects from their own ears themselves, which could indeed cause terrible injuries, bleeding, and infections.
  • joejgnunez
    Don't come telling me what to do with my child! If you want to not Pierce your daughters ears don't meanwhile let others do as we like! You aren't the one that is going to pay her bills or put a roof over her head so don't come telling me what I can or not do!!
  • Trish07
    I personally think people need to quit trying to force people into thinking what they feel is right for other people children . We are all entitled to our opinions so if u don't like what someone looks like then turn your heads. Just because you believe something is right or wrong don't mean I should be forced to believe the same. People so need to worry about what goes on in their own homes and lives and stay out of other people's business.
  • angelkiss6883
    This is plain stupid. A ban on piercing a baby or toddlers ears is plain stupid. My daughter's both had their ears pierced at 6 weeks and they didn't mind at all. What the real issue is is that parents get lazy and forget to clean the baby's ears and they get infected so instead of taking the blame they find a scapegoat like it was the piercings fault. I asked my daughter's doctor if it was ok to pierce her ears and when and he said the best time to do it is early because their nerve endings are still forming so the actual piercing doesn't hurt its more the snap of the gun that scares them. Stop finding excuses for everything people!!!!!

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