Let's Talk: Would you call this child cruelty?

is it okay to pierce babies' ears

A petition in the UK is calling for a ban on a common beauty procedure, arguing that it is a form of child cruelty. The petition gathered more than 30,000 signatures in record time and continues to attract more.

Written by mother, Susan Ingram, the online petition reads: “[Ear piercing] 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”.

In response, Labour MP Mark Tami announced he would raise the issue of an age restriction on piercings in the House of Commons.

“If we allowed parents to do other things to their children’s faces, like tattooing, that would be appalling, but although piercings can heal, they can still cause distorting affects on the ear, in the skin and muscle,” Mr Tami told the Guardian.

In Australia laws vary from state to state but generally speaking the age restriction for ear piercing is over 16 unless the child is accompanied by an adult, which would obviously be the case for babies and children.

Ad. Article continues below.

There are many reasons people choose to pierce their child’s ears. It may be culturally relevant for families with Indian or Spanish backgrounds, for example. Others say it is kinder to have the procedure done before the child is old enough to remember it happening. And others simply like the way it looks.

I remember the day I had my ears pierced (sneakily because Mum said I couldn’t until I was 15, which was three whole years away). Quite frankly, it hurt and was a pretty traumatic experience, the hole in one ear is wonky, it got badly infected and still closes up after all these years. Sure I wished I’d had it done when I was a baby, but when the time came I simply couldn’t bring myself to have the procedure done to my little girl (incidentally, she has to wait until she’s 10).

But that’s just my story. Did you get your child’s ears pierced? Do your grandkids have theirs done? If so, how do you feel about it?

Let’s talk: Is it okay to have babies’ and children’s ears pierced?