When is a child 'too young' to get their ears pierced?

Young Mummies star Maria DiGeronimo has divided viewers over her decision to pierce her daughter Valentina’s ears at three months of age.

In Tuesday night’s episode, the 34-year-old took her daughter to get her ears pierced, reasoning she “won’t remember the pain anyway”.

“That little girl of mine is going to sparkle and shine,” she said.

Maria DiGeronimo isn't the only mum who has chosen to pierce their baby's ears. (Image via Instagram.)

The decision sparked a debate that has been raging for almost as long as the procedure was possible, forcing us to ask the question: how young is too young to have your child's ears pierced?

Depending on your culture, it's not unusual to have your child's ears pierced at three months of age, with some babies as young as six weeks old receiving earrings.

On This Glorious Mess, blogger and mum of two Sophie Cachia insisted that the right age is never.

Or at least, not until they can ask for it themselves.

Listen: Sophie explains why she'll never pierce Bobby and Flossy's ears.

As for the experts, federal Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon says there is no "right age".

The Perth-based obstetrician told Mamamia there is no legal or recognised minimum age in Australia, and medically, "the risks are probably the same at any age".

"There's no perfect age to do it."

Dr Gannon says piercings of the ear lobes carry the minor risks of scarring, low-grade inflammation, bleeding and a small chance of infection - but these don't increase or decrease based on a child's age.

While the obstetrician hadn't seen the results of complications such as a child ripping an earring out in his line of work, he didn't doubt it happened, but again reiterated the risks were low.


"Perhaps the key messages are to recognise the risk, to ask yourself the question 'does it really need to be done?', and in choosing the person who's going to do it, just make sure that it's done to the highest possible standards of hygiene to reduce the risk of infection."

There is no legal minimum age for baby ear piercings in Australia. (Image via iStock.)

So what about the belief that it might be better for the child to have the procedure at a younger age?

Well, that's really up to the parents to do what they think is best, Dr Gannon says.

"It's not the case that small children don't perceive pain, but it is the case that they're less likely to recall a specific episode if it's done when they're only a few months of age."

So it won't be any less painful for younger bubs, but they are less likely to have nightmares about it or think back on the pain.

Perhaps that's why Tony Maiello, the CEO and owner of Essential Beauty, has seen babies as young as six weeks old brought in to have their ears pierced.

The salon chain owner says, however, he most commonly sees girls aged seven getting their ears pierced for the first time.

Maiello says there are ways to make piercings as fuss-free as possible for toddlers and babies. At his salons, two staff member pierce both ears simultaneously - instead of one at a time for adults.

He recommends bringing along a lolly or toy to distract your child while they are getting the piercings, adding that his salons provide a complimentary teddy bear to "help ease your child's nerves".

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:

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