Calls to ban ear-piercing for babies and toddlers amid child cruelty claims

A fashion statement, or child cruelty? It’s the debate that’s dividing parents across the world – should piercing a baby’s or toddler’s ears be outlawed?

A petition calling for the piercing of babies’ and children’s ears to be illegal has attracted more than 30,000 signatures.

Susan Ingram’s petition on 38 Degrees says the pain and fear experienced by babies and toddlers who get their ears pierced is a form of child cruelty.

“It serves no purpose other than to satisfy the parent’s vanity. Other forms of physically harming children are illegal – this should be no different,” she says, calling for a minimum legal age requirement for ear piercing of children.


The UK petition has attracted widespread attention, with The Guardian reporting that the issue will be raised in the British parliament.

UK MP Mark Tami says, “If we allowed parents to do other things to their children’s faces, like tattooing, that would be appalling, but although piercings can heal, they can still cause distorting effects on the ear, in the skin and muscle.”

The Guardian reports that Dr Tim Ballard, vice-chair of the Royal College of GPs, said that piercing the ear lobes of babies and toddlers, in the majority of cases, is unlikely to cause lasting damage.

“But that is not to say it does not cause the child pain during and after the piercing. We would suggest that having your child’s ear lobes pierced should remain the choice and responsibility of parents and indeed, in some cases, culture will impact on this decision. However, we would strongly advise against having your child pierced anywhere else than on the ear lobe,” he says.

(via The Guardian)

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