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In 2015, 76 percent of parents reported that they’d allow their child to get their ears pierced. In some cultures, even infants wear earrings. Ear piercing is a common procedure and a rite of passage for many kids.

While it’s a fairly non-invasive procedure, ear piercing aftercare is vital. Taking good care of the piercing prevents infection and other issues. It also ensures that the earrings don’t need to be removed and holes closed.

Ear piercing care is something that you, as the parent, should be involved in. This is especially true for very young children who aren’t able to take care of the piercing on their own.

Proper aftercare doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it’s important to stick with a schedule in the weeks following your child’s piercing. Here’s how to do it right.

Pain Management

Getting your ears pierced comes with some pain and discomfort. Applying an ice pack before the piercing can help control this. That’s because the cold will help numb the earlobes.

There are also a few numbing creams that you can apply to your child’s ears before the piercing. These are usually available from a pharmacy without a prescription.

It’s also recommended that you find an ear piercing technician who is experienced. They are often able to do the piercing without causing as much pain because they have practiced the technique.

After the piercing, pain can usually be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. Be sure you give your child a dose that’s appropriate for his or her age and weight.

Turn the earring each time you clean it. This helps prevent the skin from sticking to it and helps the piercing heal properly.

Expect the pain and soreness to last for a few days. Continue with the painkillers or the numbing cream as your child’s ear piercing heals.

Cleaning the Piercing

One of the most important steps in earring care is to keep the jewelry and the piercing clean. This prevents the risk of infection and helps the piercing heal correctly.

Clean the piercing twice per day using gentle soap and warm water. You can also use saline solution for cleaning. Most experts caution against using rubbing alcohol, as it can dry out the skin.

Make sure you wash your hands before cleaning your child’s piercing. Gently dab the earring and the piercing rather than wiping. This keeps the process from being painful and is gentler on the piercing so it heals well.

Be Gentle with the Piercing

Older children will understand that they need to be careful with the piercing as it heals. For babies and younger kids, you will need to be vigilant about this in the weeks following the piercing.

Your child may need to sleep on their back for a few days following the piercing to prevent pressure on the area. Use caution when dressing and undressing your child so that clothing doesn’t snag and pull the earrings.

While there’s no restriction to activity after a piercing, caution should be used during sports and outdoor play. This prevents the earring from being bumped, which can slow healing and cause discomfort.

Watch for Signs of Infection

There’s always a risk of infection with any kind of body modification. This is small when it comes to ear piercing, but it pays to know what signs and symptoms to look for.

They include pain, swelling, or redness at the piercing site. Other signs include itching, burning, or tenderness. Any yellow or white discharge is also a good indication that the piercing is infected.

A minor infection can be cared for at home, using saline solution three times daily. If the infection persists or gets worse, your child may need medical care.

Signs of a major infection include an earring that won’t move or is stuck to the skin around it. A fever is another symptom of a more serious infection. In this case, your child may need an antibiotic to clear up the problem.

Removing the Earring

After a piercing, your child should wear the earrings for at least six weeks before chasing them.  After the six-month mark, there are plenty of kids earrings to choose from.

When it’s time to swap out the earrings, be sure you wash your hands before making the switch. While the piercing is generally considered healed at this point, there’s still a small risk of infection.

Gently turn and pull the earring until it comes out of the piercing. Then, gently insert the new earring in its place. Don’t wait too long, as newly pierced ears will grow shut quickly.

Trying to put an earring in a hole that has started to grow shut can be painful and can damage the tissue. It’s never a good idea to leave the earrings out for more than a few minutes in the year or so following a piercing.

Ear Piercing Aftercare Benefits

In addition to preventing infection and encouraging healthy healing, there are some other benefits to proper piercing aftercare.

This process teaches your child the importance of taking care of his or her piercing. Older children can often take over the care once you’ve taught them how it’s done.

When done correctly, aftercare also prevents the risk of scars or keloids forming at the piercing site. When the holes heal correctly, they aren’t readily visible and can handle most kinds of jewelry.

Choosing Jewelry for Children

When you buy jewelry for your child, there are several factors to consider. Children’s skin is often more sensitive than an adult’s, so you might want to think about buying hypoallergenic jewelry.

This is usually gentler on the skin and can help prevent itching, redness, and irritation after a piercing. Generally, this information will be on the packaging.

Choose jewelry that isn’t too large or too heavy, as this can be uncomfortable for children to wear.

Getting Pierced

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to get pierced. Choose a reputable technician with plenty of experience for the best results. Then get ready for years of fun picking out earrings with your child.

Before you go, check out all of our other great fashion and beauty tips and advice.

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