In case you haven’t heard, there is a petition going around in the UK to ban baby ear piercing. It’s a pretty hot topic of debate right now in England, on parenting forums and even on the OurFamilyWorld Facebook page! We shared the news about the petition and got some lively responses, prompting us to really delve into the question: should baby ear piercing be illegal?
If you’re a regular reader, you know I make it my mission to give you both sides of the argument in debates like this. I have an opinion, I’m actually on a specific side here. But I like to play devil’s advocate even against myself. Guess it comes from growing up with a lawyer-to-be brother. That kid must have known he was destined to argue in a court room one day! I quickly learned that if I ever wanted to win an argument, I had to completely understand both sides! So don’t get mad when I argue against the side you’re on, okay?
Baby ear piercing: a parent’s choice that should not be governed by law
The majority of our Facebook friends feel that baby ear piercing is a parent’s choice. While some say it’s not exactly a great thing to do, they don’t believe it falls under “child cruelty” or should be made illegal. So let’s look at that side first. Why shouldn’t baby ear piercing be illegal?
- It’s a cultural thing: For many people, baby ear piercing is a cultural thing. Numerous Indian families get their baby’s ears pierced, for example. I don’t feel that we should interfere with other’s cultural rights unless those rights directly interfere with the rights of others. Example: if it was part of your culture to kill a woman on the first full moon of the year, your culture would be interfering with another woman’s innate right to continue living.
- It’s no more painful than vaccines. Getting your ears pierced hurts, sure, but not any more than a tetanus shot. For me, my last tetanus shot actually hurt A LOT more! But I had a weird reaction to it. If you go to a really good piercing studio, it may actually hurt LESS than a vaccine. They have skin numbing agents to take the sting out, whereas my nurse told me to be a big girl and suck it up when I got my last shots. Okay, I was like 32 the last time, but STILL!
- It’s a parent’s choice. Bottom line, deciding to get your baby’s ears pierced is as much a parent’s choice as circumcision, vaccination and many other things that repeatedly run their course in debate forums. As long as parents are not physically, emotionally or sexually abusing their child and as long as their overall needs are being met, parents should be free to decide what is best for their own child. I disagree with a myriad of parenting choices, but I would never think that my way is the only right way and should become the law.
Baby ear piercing is dangerous and should be illegal
On the flip side, we have the petitioners in the UK and parents around the world who feel it is dangerous or abusive in some way and should be illegal. Let’s look at that perspective for a moment, because fair is fair.
- It is painful. Yes, we discussed that the pain is akin to vaccines, but really, it’s a pain that parents choose to inflict on their babies for the sake of looking cute, not to save their lives or prevent a disease. Why would anyone want to do that to their baby? It’s also a frightening experience to a little one who doesn’t know what is happening.
- It can cause infection. If you don’t take care of the piercing correctly, it can lead to horrible infections. Whenever you put a new hole in your body, you run the risk of infection. Add a foreign object to that hole and the risk increases. Even if you take super good care of it, babies get their hands dirty. They touch their faces, their heads, and their little ears.
- It’s mutilation without consent. While I would think that tattoos or piercings in places that don’t heal at all when removed would be more in line with this argument, piercing your baby’s ears IS a form of body alteration without consent. My holes closed a long time ago, but you can still see where they are.
So there you go, three pros, three cons. Both sides with equal and fair play time (I hope). Honestly, it’s easy to see how each side feels. I can understand the motivation behind the “make it illegal” side. Really, I can. BUT, is it enough to take away another parent’s right to choose for their own child? Each argument on both sides can have literally dozens of side arguments and rebuttals.
Related: Stop Mom-on-Mom Bullying!
In the end, you have to decide. Decide what is right for your baby and decide which side you’re on. Of course, we’d LOVE if you shared your thoughts with us! Feel free to tell me if I missed an important point in your side of the debate, too! Obviously, I couldn’t include every single last argument because we’d all be here for months. J Still, I try to write balanced and fair.
Talk to us! Debate (respectfully) with us! What do you think: should baby ear piercing be illegal?