Chat to other families
Check if there are any rules at your school about piercings. Most allow a stud earring or piercing but some can be stricter. It is worth checking this out before you make your decision. Is it just a phase or has your child been asking to get a piercing for a while?
“I just wanted my daughter to be old enough to take responsibility, keeping her ears clean after the piercing, being careful not to catch her earring and hurt herself that kind of thing.”
“My son asked to get his ear pierced at 12, but didn’t push it when I wasn’t sure whether to let him. I thought it might just be a whim so waited to see if he’d ask again. He mentioned it a few times so finally at 14 I took him to get his ear pierced. He saved up his pocket money to get it done to show he was serious about it.”
Ask other parents what they have decided. You may not agree with their decision, but equally it may help you decide what age you agree to let your child have piercings.
“I let my daughter have her ears pierced when she was 9. We went with a friend and her daughter so they could have their ears pierced together. We decided to take them at the beginning of the summer holidays so they had the time off school to clean their ears and learn to be careful not to catch their studs.”
Be aware of well meaning relatives. Your child may pester a grandparent, aunt or stepparent who may not be aware of your feelings towards the subject. For most parents we spoke to, mums seemed to take a lead in this decision, but it is always worth talking to your partner about the issue so it is a joint decision. If you do decide to allow your child to get a piercing make sure you choose a reputable jewellers. If you decide your child is too young, but want ideas of how to tackle the pester power here are some tips…
Whatever the age, if your child is getting a piercing, ensure you find a reputable, licensed body piercing shop or piercer. Most local councils keep registers of approved piercers who have passed hygiene and safety standards, and who are regularly inspected by health and safety officers. You can find more information about what to look for in a safe and licensed piercing shop on NHS choices website.
According to the NHS website there is no legal age restriction on most body piercings, but performing genital or nipple piercing on someone under the age of 16 could be considered an offence. Some local authorities and piercing businesses may have their own regulations concerning age limits and consent for body piercings.