Body piercings, such as earrings or bellybutton piercings, are a great way to express your individuality. They also provide a wide range of aesthetic opportunities because there are thousands of different jewellery styles available to choose from.
Body piercings are particularly popular with teenagers and younger people. Every year, thousands of under 18s in the United Kingdom consider getting a body piercing, however piercings for minors are still a disputed topic.
Laws on piercings for under-18s
At present, there are very few laws governing piercings for minors. Earrings, nose piercings, tongue piercings and lips piercings can technically be performed on persons of any age. Although there are no laws specifically prohibiting genital piercings or nipple piercings on people under the age of 16, there are many other laws which would be taken into account in these circumstances.
Local authorities also have the power to set their own licensing laws for parlours that offer body piercing. This means that some areas require piercers to obtain parental consent before they carry out a body piercing on a person below a specific age. Other parlours may require the parents to be present when the piercing occurs. Parlours are also allowed (and in some cases, required) to ask customers for proof of age before they go through with a piercing.
Responsibility for aftercare
Good aftercare is essential when you have just had a piercing. Failing to care for the piercing area properly can result in a serious infection. T
he person who has had the piercing is normally fully responsible for the aftercare; however things can become more complicated when a piercing is performed on someone who is under the age of 16. The parent may have to take some responsibility. Some parents refuse to give their children permission until their children are mature enough to understand the importance of taking care of their own piercing. If a parent chooses to handover the responsibility for aftercare to their child, then it is still important that they understand the signs and symptoms of an infection. This will enable them to take adequate steps to secure medical support for their child if there is an issue after the piercing is done.
Ear piercing for babies
Some parents choose to get ear piercings for their child when their child is still an infant. Although many make the choice for aesthetic reasons, others argue that it may be better to pierce at a young age because they will not recall the pain. Proponents also suggest it is easier to control aftercare when an infant has their ears pierced, because of the focus on maintaining good hygiene practices in every single area of their life. Some proponents of ear piercing for infants also say that they pierce their child’s ears at this age for cultural reasons.
Opponents of infant ear piercing have suggested that piercing is a form of abuse. They believe that children should not be subjected to pain for vanity reasons. They also suggest that ear piercings on infants promotes the idea that babies are an accessory or status symbol. Because babies are unable to make their own style choices, the styling must therefore be for the benefit of parents.
Finally, many opponents believe that piercing the ears of a child who is unable to offer informed consent can be considered as a form of mutilation. Even if the piercings are removed in future, they could leave permanent scars on that person. Opponents argue that people should have full control over permanent aesthetic changes to their body, and this is not possible when a parent chooses to pierce an infant.
If you are considering having your infants ears pierced, you should be prepared for a wide range of different reactions from your friends and from members of the public. Whilst some people may be positive about it, be prepared for some people to have a very negative reaction. You should consider how these reactions may affect your child.
Ear piercing for school-aged children
Ear piercing is more widely accepted by society once a child is old enough to be able to verbalise their consent or express their own desires for this type of piercing. However, parents should still be prepared to face some barriers if their child does want a piercing.
Before you go through with the piercing procedure, you should always check whether the school has a policy on piercings for pupils. Schools are allowed to ban or limit visible piercings, and they may be able to prevent pupils from attending if they have more piercings than their policy permits. They may ask the child to take the jewellery out during school hours.
In the immediate aftermath of a piercing, you will normally have to leave the piercing in until the wound has fully healed or else the wound could close.