Revealed: The hidden risks of piercing a baby's ears - from infections to scarring

24 July 2018, 11:25 | Updated: 24 July 2018, 11:57

Crying baby ear pierce

By Naomi Berners

Piercing a baby's ears is a hot topic of debate amongst many parents, but new research suggests that the action may do more harm than good to your tot.

Piercing a baby's ears is a rite of passage for many families - but it can have negative life changing effects on some infants. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging parents to re-consider getting their newborn's ears pierced after it has emerged that 35 per cent youngsters are at risk of experiencing at least one complication.

Whilst minor infections are the most common expectation, babies and toddlers can also experience allergic reactions, keloid formations (overgrown scarring) and tearing.

Swelling, warmth and redness in and around the pierced area can also cause pain for your offspring - and if they suffer with atopic dermatitis the risk of skin infections is a lot higher.


Credit: Getty 

As is the nature of piercing ears at such a young age, it isn't uncommon for a baby to accidentally pull the earring through their earlobe and cause a flesh tear.

Read more: Is piercing a baby's ears okay? Chelsee Healey shares controversial snap

In this instance, the AAP is suggestion a visit to hospital to ensure that the laceration is stitched up and minimal scarring remains.


Credit: Getty 

The AAP also advise against going to a shopping centre for piercings, due to the lack of sterilisation of piercing equipment. Whilst the earrings themselves will generally have been sterilised, there could be a chance that the gun hasn't been properly cleaned in between each customer. 

Avoiding any jewellery with nickel in will also reduce risk of infection, as it has been linked to skin reactions.

Titanium, niobium and stainless steel are less likely to produce an allergic reaction - but just make sure that the earrings' backs are also of the same material.

'Lock' or 'screw' fastenings are also recommended for youngsters, rather than the typical 'butterfly' back.