Ear Piercing

Question

Is 4 weeks old to early to have my daughter’s ears pierced? My Grandma thinks I should wait until she’s 4-5 months old so she won’t pick at them. I think that at 4 weeks old, she doesn’t have a clue as to where or what her ears are, as opposed to a 4-5 month-old baby, so I would rather have it done now.

Dr. Greene's Answer

I wouldn’t be concerned about a 4-week-old pulling at her ears. Nevertheless, I am a fan of waiting just a bit for ear piercing. My reason?

Tetanus.

Even though the disease is not very common (thanks to immunizations), the tetanus bacteria is everywhere. It usually enters the body through puncture wounds.

I would prefer that a baby have at least one (better two) tetanus shots behind her before her big day. The first tetanus shot is usually given at the 6 to 8 week old checkup; the second at the 4 month checkup. Waiting until then would put the event at 3-5 months old for most kids. Also, babies are better able to handle the more common minor skin infections they might get once they are more than 3 months old.

Last medical review on: May 14, 2008
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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