Ear Piercing for School-Aged Kids

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi - my 4 year old wants her ears pierced. Has anyone done this in past year or so at Berkeley Pediatrics? Good/bad stories both helpful.

    If you have an alternate recommendation I'd also welcome that... other posts are pretty old and pre-Covid. Thanks!

    My daughter got hers at Zebra in Berkeley. I didn’t know that Berkeley Pediatrics offers piercings; her pediatrician is Dr. Lang. Anyway, the reason I choose to go to body piercing place, because they are expert on doing any type of piercings (technique and hygiene). Also, my daughter had 2 people did both ears at the same time, so she wouldn’t change her mind or freaking out, because the first piercing hurt too much. She had an issue with one of her ear, because we changed her earring. It got infected and since I didn’t want to traumatize her with pain, we let it heal and the hole was closed. We went back to  get it pierced again on one ear. My suggestion is to keep your daughter orginal earrings for at least 1 year until it is fully healed. 

    My daughter is older than yours, but we recently had a terrific experience at Zebra Piercing & Tattoo shop in Berkeley, which was recommended to me by several friends.  My daughter’s piercer, Manny, was a total pro, and it felt very COVID-safe, too, as she was pierced in a private room.  https://www.mrzebra.com/zebrakidz

    I understand the impulse to do ear piercing in a pediatrician's office, but honestly I would choose a professional piercing (and often, tattoo) shop. Pediatrics office just don't do it enough to be really good at it! I would go somewhere they do it all day, every day, and obviously they follow all the aseptic/cleaning/covid rules. The only reason I would do it in a clinic/hospital setting was if my child had a bleeding disorder and needed monitoring or meds after. Best recc in Berkeley - Industrial Tattoo on Telegraph. Good luck and have fun!

    Honestly, Zebra Tattoo and Body Piercing (on Telegraph) is amazing! They have a super clean facility and they are great at explaining post-piercing care. I got my ears pierced there (a while ago) and had unusual swelling the next day. Went in and they helped me and comped me a different pair of earrings to reduce the swelling. 

    Hi there,

    We took our 4.5 yr old daughter to Zebra Tattoo at 6.5 months old and they were FANTASTIC!!! Very quick, sanitary and knowledgeable. We also love their stud earrings with the flat backs. Highly  recommend this option. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Where to get daughter's ears (re)pierced?

May 2015

Can anyone recommend where to take my daughter to get her ears re-pierced? Originally done at Silver Lining (now closed), they never really healed properly, and she finally just let them close up. Now, she'd like to get them re-pierced -- but, where?

NOT Claire's, want a quality experience, good quality earrings, sterile conditions, and EVEN PIERCINGS (Silver Lining didn't do a balanced job, which was part of the problem).

Tattoo/piercing parlors? Jewelers? Where have you gone, and are you pleased with the outcome?? Need new holes in her ears!

My daughters and stepdaughter have 12 ear piercings between them, all done at Zebra. (Before you freak out, that's 3 kids with double-pierced ears.) The folks at Zebra are friendly, thorough, professional, and helpful. When I brought my daughter -- then 9 -- to get her ears re-pierced after a Claire's piercing didn't work out, the whole experience was completely positive for her.

My honor students get pierced at Zebra

You could ask your pediatrician's office if they do ear piercing. It will definitely be clean. Good luck
Zebra on Telegraph in Berkeley. They do all sorts of piercings including ears. High quality and sterile


Child-friendly piercing establishment

May 2013

Can someone recommend child friendly ear piercing establishment? somini

Claire's at Southland Mall in Hayward did a great job. They were not expensive, were patient with kids and their parents, and even took pictures to commemorate the ''big'' event. If your pediatrician doesn't pierce, I would recommend Claire's. Piercing Mom
I took my daughter to her pediatrician to have her ears pierced, and it was exactly the safe, child-friendly environment I was looking for. Your child's pediatrician probably offers this service too. Healthy Earlobes
Silver Lining jewelry store on Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland is great for getting children's ears pierced. They were sweet with my daughter. Sue
Zebra Tattoo - in Berkeley or Walnut Creek. To some it may not look ''child-friendly'' but they are and they know what they are doing.

Hygienic ear piercing for 5 year old

March 2013

I have been searching the East Bay for a hygienic, child-friendly place take my 5-year-old daughter to get her ears pierced. I would like for her to have 14-karat gold posts. Where do BPN moms take their kids for ear piercing? I would love to hear about your good experiences in this area. I am willing to travel to other parts of the Bay Area for a place that specializes in child ear piercing. Anon

When I was growing up we all just got our ears pierced at the mall, so I was surprised to learn that pediatricians do ear-piercing. I took my daughter to our pediatrician to get her ears pierced when she was nine, and it was exactly the clean, child-friendly experience you are hoping for. And we definitely had a choice of what kind of earrings to use. We go to Berkeley Pediatrics but I think they all do it, and I just somehow never knew. Happy Ears

My daughter got her ears pierced at Claire's first, but then they got infected and the holes closed. When she was ready for earrings again, I followed BPN recommendations and took her to Zebra on Telegraph Ave. The staff was professional, gentle, friendly, VERY thorough in their instructions for after-care, and the actual piercing was less painful than at Claire's. Zebra also strongly encouraged us to come back or call if we had any concerns; Claire's, on the other hand, didn't have any recommendations when my daughter's ears started getting red and irritated the first time. Overall, I would give Claire's a B- and Zebra an A. Now, I realize that your definition of ''family-friendly'' might not include outlandish tattoo art on the walls and on the employees. But they were genuinely sweet with my daughter (then 7), and she had a good time. My Honor Student Got Pierced at Zebra

Place to get 8 year old's ears pierced  

May 2012

My daughter (turning 8) would love to get her ears pierced for her birthday. So where can I take her to get this done safely? We live in Rockridge, so would prefer Berkeley/Oakland recommendations. Thank you! anon

My daughter had her ears pierced this spring when she turned 6. We got them done at Claire's in the Broadway Plaza Mall in Walnut Creek. They had good 'fashion' choices for her starters, and they had 2 piercing guns so they did them both at once. No problems with the piercing or the healing. It cost about $60. You also get a coupon for 20% off a purchase that day or in the future. She saved her coupon for when she could take out the starters after 6 weeks and had lots of fun picking out new earrings. happy with Claire's
My daughter got her ears pierced at Zebra on Telegraph for her graduation from elementary school. The conditions were very clean. The girl doing the piercing was very calming and kind and it was fast. They did the piercing in a back room and her friend came to hold her hand. I hovered on the other side of the room and didn't look. They gave my daughter very precise instructions on how to care for her ears for the first weeks -- much more than what they did in my day. Her ears have healed beautifully, except for one short period when we tried to put curved hooks in. Stick to the posts for quite a while! cocosar

Hi! I have a couple of suggestions for you! If you're looking for a more clinical experience, the doctors at Bayside Medical group (in Berkeley, specifically) pierced our daughters' ears when they were infants, about 9 months old. Dr. Gerwein did them. This was a great option for young kids, it didn't give them time to get freaked out since it was so quick, and the staff has their system down pat. We paid a flat rate for piercing and jewelry, but I can't remember exactly what it was. But it was totally reasonable, since we were able to pay for two at once!

But also, since your daughter is 8, I'd recommend Industrial Piercing and Tattoo in Berkeley on Dwight at Telegraph. We've had lots of work done ourselves there and have had family and friends also experience how great they are. I recommend it because if you can avoid piercing with a mechanized 'gun' you're apt to have better results with the piercings. At Industrial, they will use straight needles and their piercers are very professional. They do everything with an eye toward safety, cleanliness, and long-term success of their piercings. When one of our daughters started having a reaction to her earrings (over a year after having them pierced at the Dr.), we took her to see Todd at Industrial and he was great about taking a look and giving an opinion and suggestions even though the shop hadn't done the original work or sold us the earrings. If you and your daughter are up for a little 'non-traditional' experience, I can't recommend Industrial highly enough.

Good luck to you and your daughter! happy earring mom

Hi! In my opinion, it would be best to take her to a professional piercer. I really like the folks at Industrial, on Dwight way and Telegraph. FWIW, I have had many, many piercings as have my friends. They are extremely attentive to hygiene and sterility. The staff are friendly (if somewhat bawdy at times). Your kid will feel like she's doing it 'grown up' style there. Call them first, though, since I don't know if they'll pierce someone her age. If not, they may have other recommendations.

Most of the jewelry at industrial is geared toward those who are into adult body modification, but they do have a nice selection of 'jewel' posts and hoops.

I do not recommend going to a mall shop where they use piercing guns. I've never seen a case yet where it wasn't uncomfortable and/or where infection set in. The earrings they use are way too tight and hard to keep clean. I also question the sterility of those places.

I also do not recommend the Tween Hipster place on Telegraph called 'Zebra'. I find them unethical (will do piercings without parental consent for instance) and I question their sanitation. Alternately, you could ask your doctor if s/he can do the piercing if you bring your own jewelry -- which you can certainly purchase at Industrial (again, I'm suggesting them because they have hypoallergenic metals -- I use stainless steel because I tend to be metal-sensitive to everything else). Anon

we got our daughter's ears pierced at the pediatrician's office. i didn't realize doctors did this -- it didn't even occur to me until i was asking around like you are, and somebody told me, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world! anyway, we go to berkeley pediatrics on walnut street, but i'm sure other doctors pierce ears too. healthy earlobes

I saw a couple of recommendations for Industrial Tattoo and I just had to say that my daughter had her ears pierced there and it was not a good experience. We went there based on BPN recommendations. The piercer (I've forgotten his name) told us how many hundreds of ear piercings he'd done, and he was a very nice guy. After her ears were pierced (and piercing by hand, while recommended, is not as quick and easy and piercing by gun) and the earrings were in and we'd left the piercing room, I could see that the holes were completely and wildly crooked. I looked at her earrings and said, 'Wow, the holes are completely crooked.' The very nice piercer said, 'Yeah, I noticed that, but I thought you might want to let the one heal and then come back and re-do the other one.' My daughter, who was already in tears, said, 'No! I want to get this over with now!' (She was 6.) So we went back into the room and got her ear re-pierced. I have to say, the holes are still not symmetrical, though they are fine. So while the people were very nice, the experience was not good and it was very expensive. Not happy at Industrial

Although someone posted a message describing a bad experience at Industrial, I had a great experience. I got a cartilage piercing there in May. I had never been there before, but the staff were friendly and welcoming. Lysa did my piercing, and she did a nice, clean job. (Even though Industrial is a bit expensive, I think it's worth it, because they very obviously take a lot of steps to ensure their equipment is perfectly sanitized.) My piercing is now healing and I haven't had a single problem with it. If you go, ask for Lysa. To get regular lobe piercings, there's nothing wrong with Claire's. As long as you take the right steps to keep the piercings clean, they should turn out okay. Evanne

Silver Lining on Lakeshore in Oakland did a great job on my 3.5 mo old's ears. Carol was quick, knowlegeable, and friendly. She did a great job getting the piercings symetrical. She marked the holes first, and got my input. Every child is different, but mine cried for 30 seconds and was smiling by the time we left. The whole transaction cost about $30, and included the earings and cleaning solution for the aftercare. There are various options that may affect the price, but overall its reasonable. Carol has about 30 years experience and gave clear easy instructions. Oakland Mom

Ear Piercing Place that uses needles, not guns

Jan 2010

I have read all the archives on ear piercing for children and learned that it is probably much safer and less traumatic to have my 9 year-old daughter's ears pierced by a professional, reputable piercer who uses piercing needles instead of the ones at Malls who use those guns. However in reading the archives, I saw no names of specific ''reputable'' places that use needles. We live in El Cerrito and are looking for a very good place or person here in the East Bay that pierces ears, and works with children. I want someone who will give us good advice on how to properly keep the ear clean to avoid infection, and who will suggest the proper kind of earrings that won't cause the kind of problems that lead to trips to the doctor, like getting an imbedded earring removed from an earlobe! We want someone who knows what they are doing and knows what are the best kind of earrings to use. Anon

I don't have a recommendation for a place that uses needles, but my 10-year-old daughther had a great experience recently at Silving Lining in Oakland. It's a jewelry store, not a mall setting, and they use surgical steel for the earrings. They had two people do my daughter's ears simultaneously, which seemed like a better method than doing one at a time (all the pain at once). They were not rushed and very specific about how to take care of the pierced ears, and my daughter has not had a problem. anon

I don't know if Fura in Castro Valley works with young children, but I have been very impressed with Mel there. You are right that needles are better than piercing guns. And the proper earring is just that, a small ring with a bead that holds it closed. With a ring rather than a stud, the earlobe has room to swell and it is far easier to keep clean. Also, no alcohol for cleaning, just good castille soap. anon

We took our 6 year old to Zebra on telegraph in Berkeley. The scene is what you'd expect of a piercing salon. Lots of highly decorated people. They use needles. The process was--the ear was cleaned, hole markers were dotted on w/ a white ointment (zinc oxide?). A special gizmo attached a stud to a needle and the whole thing went through the ear, with the stud staying--there was no in/out/in. I believe the piercer used a cork on the other side of the ear, to catch the needle, but it's been a few years. You leave with a bactine like liquid for cleaning. And very different instructions than those we observed as teens. No twisting, no alcohol. Instead, the main care method is to soak in a sea salt water solution (makes sense, think sore throat, or mouth issues). We had to do this for months. Our daughter healed slowly. At one point we thought maybe it was infected. The staff there took a quick look and assured us it was fine, and advised more soaking. That was the ticket. The staffer was very kind, in helping enouraging the soaking, she told my daughter how hard and boring it was to soak a nose..versus an ear lobe. Keep in mind what soaking entails. We set my daughter up on a cushion, placed her ear in a bowl of warm water on the coffee table and turned on a video, 10 minutes each ear. You might want your child to be a little older to understand the commitment entailed!!! The earpiercing was not my idea, by the way. But I liked how Zebra took care of it! only ears, I hope!

Try Zebra on Telegraph near Haste. If your definition of ''reputable'' means ''no funny hair, dramatic piercings or tattoos on the staff'' then it may not be the place for you. But if your main goal is a clean, professional establishment with friendly, gentle staff, you will definitely find that at Zebra.

When I took my then-7yo there to get her ears re-pierced after a mall piercing had gotten infected, the staff at Zebra were gentle, reassuring, thorough, cheerful and completely professional. They gave much more detailed instructions for ear care than I had gotten at the mall, encouraged me to call if anything came up, and said ''We want this to go well for you.'' I would recommend them over Claire's any day of the week... plus you get the ''My Honor Student got pierced at Zebra'' bumper sticker for your minivan. ;-) JM

I wanted to share my experience as someone who also did the research and came to the same conclusion you did. Hopefully, you will find someone good who uses needles. We searched and found a woman in a tattoo parlor on Telegraph near 40th. She was not used to working with kids and it was not set up for kids since they mostly do adult piercings. It took what seemed to be a long time for her to pierce the ear- once she did, my daughter screamed in pain and started to cry (she was 6 years old). I could not beleive she wanted to peirce the other ear, but she did.

After all that, my daughter still ended up with an infected ear. Meanwhile, all her peers got the gun piercing and seemed fine. If you can't find a good place for needle piercing, the folks at Itsy-Bitsy on College are very nice and I know they pierce a lot of kid ears. anon

Surgery for 7-y-o's embedded earring backings

Feb 2007

My 7 year old had her ears pierced at Claire's last year. All was well until she lost the backings a few times and we needed to change earrings. While she never seemed to have an infection she did complain about her ears feeling sensitive a few months ago. She of course is very protective of her ears and I never really investigated thoroughly until about a month ago. I could not get the earrings out! We went to Claire's and they were able to pull out the posts but, the backings had already become embedded in her ear lobes. No infection and no sign that they were even there.

We went to the pediatrician who sent us to surgeons. We just returned from there today and the surgeon said he had never seen this before, but that it was fairly simple. He said we will have to do general anesthesia and it will take about 8 minutes to finish both ears. I know my daughtert can't move during the procedure but I never imagined we'd have to do so much.

Has anyone ever dealt with anything like this? If not, might you share any experiences you've had with general anesthesia and your child's reaction. I am not very familiar with hospital procedures and anesthesia so any comforting words would be appreciated (or not). thank you

While I don't have advice for you about the surgery, I did want to let you know you were not alone in this happening.

It happened to me when I was a girl. I had my ears pierced when I was 7 (now 40) and my mother bought me my first pair of earings that I chose which were sterling silver (after I wore those giant studs for the minimum six weeks) I wore them day in and day out for I am not sure how long, but when I went to take them out one night, the skin had grown over my backing! I'd never noticed and it hadn't bothered me! I was taken to the emergency room and had it removed. My guess is that they hadn't been in as long as your daughter's because I didn't have surgery. Just local anesthesia so I didn't feel it when they took it out. But I was home in a couple of hours and my ear healed fine. What I was most upset about was that my sleepover (my best friend was spending the night) had to end!

And finally, and most importantly, that I am allergic to anything less than 10k gold in my ears....I know that might sound crazy but I've tried em all....and those are the only earrings that dont bother me now even after just a few hours...

So keep that in mind. And good luck! anon

When I was a nanny one summer about 10 years ago, one of the girls I was caring for lost an earring backing -- it also became embedded in her earlobe. She and her parents went to the emergency room when we realized what had happened, and the docs there removed it without general anaesthesia. I don't remember what the specifics were, but I suspect a little lidocaine did the trick for the numbing. It hadn't been months of lost earring backings, though. We found the ER bracelet in a time capsule we made to be opened this past summer and had a good but squirmy laugh about it, and J. has her ears pierced again, so no lasting life-altering trauma there. Good luck! Erika

Well..your doctor never met me!! When I was in 7th grade the exact thing happened to me! I had my ears pierced and soon afer I got the surgigal studs removed and the gold ball posts put in, I got an infection of some sort. I woke up in the morning and my earrings were 'gone' but my lobes were swollen. Sure enough my lobes had 'swallowed' the earrings!

My mom took me to the pediatrician and he said what your daughter's doctor said! But he was wonderful and very creative, apparently. He gave me a course of penicillin and had my mom bring me in 7-10 days later. He was able to reach the metal with a surgical instrument, and yanked the earrings out the back of my lobe (not as painful as it sounds!) Yes; about 4 years later I had my ears re-pierced. Good luck

Several holes in my head!

I did the same stupid thing with my earnings when I was 9 years old. Only my ear lobe became infected, and my mother took me to the doctor and not to the jeweler. Our family doctor gave me a shot to numb the ear, and cut the back of my earlobe open to extract the earring back (and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic). The procedure took just a few minutes in the doctor's office, and my ear healed in a couple of weeks. (I had my ears pierced again a few years later). General anesthesia seems a big intense for this--there just aren't that many nerve endings in the ear lobes. Elizabeth

About two hours before reading this posting I had a call from a friend who was on her way to the doctor with her middle school aged son who had the same problem...an embedded earring back. I just called her for an update and she said it was handled in the office with virtually no pain. Her son's earlobe was injected with numbing medication (he didn't feel the shot)and with what she described as something like a ''splinter removal'', the earring back was removed in a snap. I really think you should think twice before subjecting your daughter to general anesthesia for such a minor procedure. BTW, her doctor said it was quite a common occurance. Jan

i have removed the embedded earrings on one patient before, under local anesthesia. i would imagine it happens all the time. i think general anesthesia is overkill, not to mention risky in and of itself. but it depends on your child and if they will be able to sit still for a short period of time (it took me about 5 min beginning to end). i'd seek a second opinion. i'm a dermatologist and there are lots of options other than general anesthesia! best of luck! paige

I'm very sorry your daughter has to go through so much b/c of her ear piercings, and I don't want to sound preachy: but I do hope this serves as a message that I've been carping on for ages: go to a reputable piercing establishment that uses piercing needles, not a piercing guns.

I truly hope everything goes well, and that in the future, when/if another piercing is considered, you please, please, please go somewhere like Industrial where they do not use piercing guns and the old-fashioned post and backing, which your daughter's experience demonstrates, can cause a whole lot more than infections. Anon

I do not have any information for you about anethesia but I just wanted to say that when I was 9 I had a similar thing happen to me. I got my ears pierced at a mall store and after a while I got sensitive ears and then the backings got imbedded in my ears. I had sores on my ears so we caught it pretty soon, they had not healed over, and my aunt did ''bathroom surgery'' to get them out. You can tell your daughter that I waited about 3 years, my holes closed up and I was able to get them pierced again. Since then, all has been fine as long as I wear hypoalergenic or 14 K gold earings. That is the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope someone else can offer you advice about the anesthesia. I agree that it seems like a general is pretty much for just ear lobes. Good Luck! Jennifer

Just wanted to add that if you do get your child's ears pierced I recommend replacing the piercing studs (after 6 weeks) with 22kt gold earrings - you can purchase at Chinese/asian and Indian jewelry stores on University or China town/oakland/sf.

The regular post earrings are prone to infection and if you want ones you can put in and ignore - the rings are the ticket. Just ask for children's hoops and they will show you what they have - should be about $40. My daughter has had them in for 3+ years with no problems.

She also had reactions to all the metals and even the ''sensative'' ear types - and the silly backings always fell off anyway.

A piercing studio once told us they only use rings for that reason (because the posts are easily infected)... good luck

I had to post after reading all these others. My 6yo daughter just had ''bathroom surgery'' by me a few weeks ago to fix a soon- to-be-embedded earring back. We were able to catch it early because it was itchy and when I investigated it was raw - totally raw - a bit inflamed, and her ear was starting to swallow the back. I very cleanly extracted the back and the earring (don't know why it did this in the first place - she's had earrings for nearly 2 years), and then replaced them with gold hoops that have a straight post that locks into the top- back of the hoop. In this way, we were able to save her pierced hole and let the back heal with nothing against it. She was told that I would inherit the hoops after the healing since I think 6 is too young for ''danglies''. Anyway, we covered the wound with bacitracin and it was fine in a little over a week. You might ask your doctor (without general anesthesia, I think) if you can put in a hoop like that if you are concerned about re-piercing later. I purchased the hoops at a mall jewelers (not a cheap shop) for $40 and consider them a gift to myself that she will inherit with a good story. Also, there was no pain putting them in or sleeping with them.

BTW, there are great ''baby'' earrings that have screw-on backs so that you don't have to push the backs on and have them too tight. We now use these on her Budda-ears. You can find them at Target or more high-end shops. Freyja

Where should we take 5-year-old to get ears pierced?

March 2006

Hi, My soon to be 5 year old wants to wear earrings! Where should we go to get them pierced? Zebra on Telegraph? anon

We had great luck with Cold Steel on Market Street in San Francisco. Very sterile and professional plus a dad/employee who had experience with kids ears. My daughter ended up giving pep talks to all the adults waiting to get piercings about how to ''breath out and that it didn't hurt much''! A memorable experience... I got my ears repierced right before she did to show her how easy it was. I had to force a smile but my daughter was a real trooper! Through much research I found that the malls are the most risky places to get pierced, very unsanitary! not a particularly hip mom

Please go to a respected piercer who uses needles to pierce rather than that staple-gun piercing method like they use in malls. Info on Web as to why staple gun method is more traumatic to the tissue, harder to heal and loud and scary and annoying to boot. Took my daughter at about 8 to professional piercer who used needles. She did not even flinch. Luckily we also knew the man which increased the comfort level of the whole situation. Then if you use stainless steel hoops instead of post earrings, sleeping on her/his side at night will also be more comfy! :) good luck

My daughter got her ears pierced about a year ago at 4.5 years old. We went to Claire's in the new Emeryville shopping center (it's near Old Navy). IT HURT! But she only cried for about 5 minutes. I had her on my lap and held her arms. She picked cute little pink rhinestone flower earrings that fit in the piercing gun (a mistake, see below), and after a week, one fell out when she was sleeping. I couldn't get it back in--I think the lobe had already started to heal. She garnered all her courage, and we went back six weeks later and got that ear pierced again. THEN, that earring fell out when she was playing on the monkey bars!!! The poor child was reluctant, but agreed to get the ear pierced again before kindergarten started, about four months later.

1. Decide where you want the holes before you get to the piercers. This actually took me a long time to decide and probably added to my daughter's growing anxiety. You can put a dot on using a Sharpie.
2. Go early in the morning, when they first open. Because it wasn't crowded we had two women pierce my daughter's ears at the same time. I'm sure if we had to do one at a time, my daughter would have backed out after the first one.
3. Have your child wear ear plugs--the noise of the ''gun'' was as frightening as the pain.
4. Choose the basic gold studs. After trying three styles, these had the tightest backs and did not fall out. Boring, but your daughter can pick out another fun pair for when her ears are healed.
5. Claire's hygiene was excellent--they use alcohol to clean the ears, wear gloves and use earrings that are sealed in a ''clip'' that goes into the piercing ''gun.''
6. Let your child put earrings on you. My daughter thought putting in earrings after they were pierced would feel like a needle--she didn't get that it wouldn't hurt after the hole healed.
7. Buy the second pair of earrings from a good store. My mom got her several pair of child-sized earrings with screwbacks from Itty Bitty (?, it's a jewelry store on College, just south of Market Hall). She's worn one pair for almost a year, and they have never fallen out. (Tiny gold flower with a rhinestone in the middle--matches everything!)
Learn from my mistakes!

Experienced and clean kids' ear piercing

April 2002

Greetings - My daughter is now ready (as am I) to have her ears pierced. I've heard of a great place on Solano but of course can't remember the name. I really need a place that offers experience, expertise, hygiene, and is very kid-friendly. There are only two recommendations on the archives and neither one is recent. Any updates or positive experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Rena's mom, aka Deborah

My daughter's ears were pierced by our pediatrician. Pat

I got my daughter's ears pierced at a small jewelry store on Lake Shore (east side of the street) across the street from Noah's. I can't recall the name but it's close to the end of the block, near the game store. They use two piercers at once with one person on each ear, so both ears are done simultaneously. It was easy and cheap! Suzanne

One thing I should have learned with the first kid, but didn't, because it has recently happened with the second kid: don't get the posts too small, even if they look better on smaller ears. My 10 year old daughter got 3 mm balls (at Claire's) and we followed the recommended cleaning procedures for 6 weeks, no problems. We took them out a couple of times, but it was a nervous-making process, so we didn't do it often. Then basketball season began and we would forget and not take them out (as required) until we arrived at the game. This last minute removal, occuring several times a week, and maybe the earrings not getting cleaned enough before they went back in led to a slight infection in one ear. She complained of a sore ear one night and we applied disinfectant solution, but I didn't loosen the post. Her earlobe was slightly swollen. Well, after sleeping on that ear, the next morning the ball of her post was INSIDE her earlobe! This had happened to my older daughter years ago and I should have learned my lesson, but I thought these posts were large enough. When I took her to the doctor, he said, ''oh, yes, I get one of these cases per month'' and he said that the posts need to be larger to prevent this. It was a rather ticklish procedure, to get that ball out of the earlobe when there was nothing to grip! Then he gave her the option of having larger balled posts put in right then, while her ear was still numb, but we thought of all the basketball games and practices left to go and sports won out. We would have been fine without the sports issue, since her ears weren't giving her any trouble before that, but it's something to think about. Liz O.

Ear piercing for 6-year-old

June 1999

I just did some searching for a good ear piercing place for our 6-year-old daughter. We ended up with Silver Lining Jewelry on Lakeshore in Oakland. No appointment needed. Friendly. Good earring studs to select from. I highly recommend them.

We went to 14 Karats on College Ave. The owner is a character and comes out in outlandish hats. I trust their cleanliness and caring more than I would the mall type ear piercers. I don't remember cost but I do remember they replaced one of her earrings for free when she lost it. Also, she didn't have any allergic reactions to the earrings they gave her but she does with many others.

7 year old wants to get his ears pierced

July 1999

My 7 year old wants to get his ears pierced. I have told him that if he wants to do it when he is older (say 12), that would be fine, but not now. This has been a major topic of conversation daily for the past month. His only reason for wanting it seems to be that a couple of kids he admires have their ears pierced. We have discussed the discomfort involved, the work in keeping it infection free, etc. etc. My husband thinks I am being too rigid and we should say yes but I just can't think of a good reason to do this (except, of course, to make my son happy). Any thoughts??

If the only reason is because somebody else is doing it...This is not a good enough reason, in my book. It's like keeping up with the Joneses. In my generation (ok, I'm a fogey) this reason was just not good enough. My own 7 year old is adept enough to come up with another, more solid reason, if pressed. In some families and cultures it is quite natural for the girls to have their ears pierced as infants, on the other hand.

I would tell your son no for now, but on August 1st or September 1st (before school starts), you and your husband will reconsider the request. Then, don't remind him. (*It's OK, really*) If he still wants it and remembers, then you must seriously consider his request, but only if he gives you a reason better than his admired friends are doing it.

I know this reflects values that may not be your own, but I do want to help since I also have a very precocious and difficult 7 year old son.

About ear piercing for your 7 year old. You said you can't think of a good reason for him to get his ears pierced and I say do you have a good reason for him NOT to get his ears pierced? I believe that you should accomodate your child's requests as much as possible. In other words, unless there is a good reason your child can't do something, say yes. In this way you are showing your child that they can acheive their goals. When you say no and don't have a good reason I think you block healthy, emotional development.

When he was 10, my older son wanted his ear pierced. At the time (he's 16 now), not many kids were doing it, and I think we were impressed that he was making such a bold self-expression. Hid dad took him down to Telegraph Av. and got it.

He wore an earring off and on, and was pretty good about keeping it clean, etc. but he lost interest in it after a while and hasn't worn it for the last couple years. His younger brother also asked to have his ear pierced, but we told him he had to wait until he was 10, thinking it might be a passing fancy. He did get it pierced when he was 10 (again on telegraph Av.) but almost immediately stopped wearing his earring and the hole closed up. Now, he's almost 14, and he's recently been asking to have: 1) several holes along the edge of the ear - the spiral notebook look as I call it and 2) a pierced nostril. I have not agreed to either of these. I told him he has to wait till he's 18. This seems to be OK with him so far.

Advice for parent who is thinking of giving in to the ear piercing. My son, who is now 22 years old wanted the same thing when he was around nine and I said no. It really did not make him an unhappy child. You must remember that it is okay to say no. Saying no allows a child to know that he is truly loved and that you are not afraid to set limits. I told my son that when he turned 16 years old we could re-evaluate the situation. Trust me your son will not forget to ask again. Trends change. Your son may change his mind as he matures. My son did not change his mind. When he turned sixteen, he again asked me to allow him to pierce his ear. I at this time agreed and took him to our physician and allowed the physician to pierce his ear. I don't think that they do that anymore, but you will find that there are a lot of local and reasonable places to have your ears pierced. Whatever you decide make sure that your son knows the finality of having holes put in the body. You may want to try the look like pierced ears, earrings. They give the impression of having the ear pierced. This may give him a chance to see the reaction of family and friends before he makes a decision.

My youngest is 4 and wants to get her ears pierced. My oldest got her ears pierced at age 7. She is now 9. She had wanted her ears pierced since she was 5, but I settled on you have to be 7 for no other reason than that is how old I was when my mom let me. Picking an age is fairly arbitrary, so pick one you are comfortable with. In our house the magic age is 7. The funny thing is that my 6 year old son was the one explaining the 7 year old rule to his younger sister, followed by a statement about how next year he would be old enough to get his ears pierced. I honestly never thought about him getting his ears pierced. I don't know why it did not occur to me. His dad has his ears pierced. So, do I and his older sister but I did not imagine my son doing it. At least not as a 7 year old child. Maybe as a teenager. But, in all fairness I feel that if he wants to get his ears pierced at 7, I'll have to let him because that is the rule I made up, and being a boy or not being a girl, is not a good enough reason for me to hedge.

You and your husband have to decide what age you both feel comfortable with for your child. 7 & 8 are a popular age but, I know some families who wait longer. One of my daughter's friends has to be 11. Another friend had it done as an infant (Ow). It is pretty arbitrary. You could You could also take into account how old you were or how old your husband was if you both have had it done. And, how good is your son about taking on the responsibility? My daughter at 7 years old was highly motivated when it came to washing her ears and turning them every day. She knew if they got infected I would take them out, and after the initial first 2 or 3 months, she has done all of it on her own.

Are you sure that there aren't any unconscious sexist ideas behind not letting a boy pierce his ears? Many girls have it from a much younger age, and I'm sure they can't be all fighting with infections all the time. It IS manageable!

Ear piercing -- My daughter really wanted her ears pierced, so we finally let her do it around her 9th birthday. She is very happy, but it was a bit more troublesome than either she or we expected. They tend to get infected, and they need to be cleaned at least twice a day, which is a bit of a nuisance, and even after you can put real earrings in you still have to be careful and clean then a lot and pay attention to them. For all these reasons, I'm glad we waited until she was nine. I know several children who had them pierced when they were younger and ended up letting them close up again because they were such a bother. Also, I think kids ears tend to close up more quickly than adults would. After one day without earrings, my daughter's are always almost closed up. My mother made me wait until I was eighteen! which I think was a bit excessive, but I think maybe waiting until you are nine is not sooo terrible.

My reaction to your letter was that your son is too young to be putting semi-permanent holes in his body. I was 13 when my folks finally broke down and let me get my ears pierced, and this seems like a reasonable age to me now (it did then, too, although I fought tooth and nail to have it done at 12). At 7, and maybe especially for boys, since it's been acceptable for them a much shorter period of time and trends change, children really can't have any idea how they'll feel about the piercing later in life. There are lots of other ways in which your son can express himself; I feel sure sure he won't be so easily stifled.