Note: This article contains coarse language and graphic content that may be offensive to some readers.
A fiery debate on whether it is ethical to pierce a baby’s ears has recently sparked. Some feel very strongly on the topic, calling the nonconsenting piercing “child abuse.”
So when a video of an infant screaming in pain as she got her ears pierced went viral, the internet had a lot to say on the topic.Screenshot/YouTube
The video shows an infant being held tightly by her mother as two salon workers mark her ears with a pen.
Though the baby isn’t squirming quite yet, she has a look of panic in her eyes. And then all hell breaks loose when the workers simultaneously pierce both of the baby’s lobes.Screenshot/YouTube
The shock of the gun breaking through her delicate skin was enough to send the infant into fits of hysterics.
The response to the video was overwhelmingly negative, with many expressing their anger at the mother. According to Kidspot, one mother commented:
Why would you put a baby through that pain I couldn’t even watch my babies have their needles let alone have ears pierced!
Many simply questioned why any mother would subject their child to such a thing. The video, which had been shared on the Piercings Facebook Page, has nearly 4 million views, as well as thousands of comments.
This video is not the first piece of media to become infamously viral as of late. A few weeks ago, one mom, Enedina Vance, was trending because of a photo she posted presenting her daughter’s new dimple piercing.
While the photo was posted sarcastically to prove a point about her negative stance on modifying children’s bodies (piercing, circumcision, etc.), she got threats and messages accusing her of being a terrible mother.
The Piercings Facebook Page has numerous other videos featuring infants getting their ears pierced.
For every baby crying out in pain, angry commenters pops up to share their thoughts on the controversy.Screenshot/Facebook Screenshot/Facebook
However, one commenter made a different point:Screenshot/Facebook
She advises parents to do their research if they decide to pierce their infant’s ears.
While many accuse parents of vanity for piercing their children, there are a variety of reasons one may make this decision. For example, in Spain and Latin America, it is customary to pierce a baby shortly after her birth, as it will be more painful for her the older she gets.
One British mom, Rebekah Musson, defended her decision to pierce her daughter’s ears at four months. She said that although her daughter cried for a split second, she has no regrets and that the procedure should not be labelled as child abuse. Musson told the Hull Daily Mail:
“My daughter loves her earrings and she sees herself as batman with pretty ears. It’s much easier to get them done as a baby than when they’re older. Fact.
She looks beautiful in her earrings, and she loves to change her earrings when mummy does and wears all different ones.
She’s now two-and-a-half and has her own little jewellery box like mummy with lots of earrings in.”
In fact, with all of the angry responses on social media, Musson says that she has never experienced negative feedback to her face. If anything, the responses are all positive, with passersby exclaiming things like, “Aww, aren’t her earrings cute,” and “Oh, I wish I got my daughter’s done.”
While there has been a petition floating around since 2015 to ban piercings on babies and children in the U.K., piercing an infant is not illegal, nor is it considered child abuse.
However, if you plan to pierce your infant, make sure to do so in a professional setting. In addition, take heed of the following safety tips:
- Ask your baby’s doctor for professional places that perform the piercing. Many pediatricians are actually equipped to execute the procedure and, if not, will be able to recommend another reputable professional.
- Topical anesthesia may be available for your infant if the piercing is done by a health care professional. The cream could help reduce the initial pain of the piercing.
- Make sure the piercing earrings are sterilized.
- Be vigilant about care post-piercing by cleaning the lobe multiple times a day while twisting the earring gently.
- Never take your baby to a jewelry store or shopping center for piercing as these workers are often inexperienced and use piercing guns, which cannot be sterilized.
At the end of the day, it is a parent’s decision on whether to pierce their infant. The BabyCenter reports that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
There’s little risk at any age if the piercing is performed carefully and cared for conscientiously.
As a result, be sure to do your research before deciding either way.