Let's talk: Is this child abuse?

Does a baby really need earrings?

A viral video is currently making the rounds of social media, and it has made a lot of people angry, and others defensive. 

The video shows a mother holding a four-month-old baby girl while the baby’s ears are pierced. 

The baby looks around in wonder as the piercers clean her little earlobes and dot on the spot where the piercing will go with a marker. After they’ve found the spot, two piercers stand either side of the little girl and snap the earrings into place, both at the same time.

The baby is clearly distressed and in pain, and her mother laughs softly as she comforts her and pops her dummy back in.

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It has reignited the piercing debate of how young is too young?

Many commenters say that a child should be old enough to know to the risks, and to know that it’s going to hurt and be able to make the choice to get their ears pierced for themselves, or not if they don’t want to.

They say that it takes away the bodily autonomy of the child, and causes pain for a purely cosmetic reason.

“How can we teach our children body autonomy if we make decisions on how they should look and not give them a choice?” one Facebook user wrote. 

“I just don’t understand why anyone feels the need to cosmetically enhance their baby. I think all babies are perfect just the way they are,” another wrote. 

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On the other side of the coin are the parents who have had their young babies’ ears pierced. They have done it for various reasons, some to “get it over with” while they are too young to remember, some because they believe there is less risk of infection before their babies are able to find and fiddle with their ears, and some do it to make their baby girls “look more feminine”. 

“I got my daughter’s done at 6 months old. Didn’t harm her and healed beautifully as she couldn’t play with her ears. Not to mention they are a part of her now so she doesn’t bother with them. She cried for a split second then got over it”, one commenter wrote for the other team. 

“My ears were pierced at 5 weeks old. For no other reason than my mum didn’t want me to fiddle with them and get them infected,” another said.  

“No biggie. I rarely wear earrings but I like having them pierced. I don’t remember it, I wasn’t traumatised by it and if I had a daughter I would do the same thing.”

The piercing “gun” method used on the baby in the video is considered to be a more painful way to pierce ears, as rather than piercing the skin like a needle, it acts more like a hole-punch, punching the blunt stud through the lobe. 

It is also less sanitary as the guns cannot be sterilised the way a needle can. 

Where do you stand? Have you, or would you get a baby’s ears pierced? Or do you think it’s akin to child abuse?