A petition calling for a ban on child ear piercing has over 30,000 signatures and Labour MP Mark Tami has announced that he will ask the government to impose an age restriction on the practice.
According to The Guardian Tami actually first took the issue to the House of Commons in 2013, after a constituent raised concerns, and has revealed that he wants to “see it discussed again in parliament.”
The 38 Degrees petition, started by mum Susan Ingram and addressed to Minister for Children Edward Timpson, claims the piercing the ears of babies and toddlers “is a form of child cruelty. Severe pain and fear is inflicted upon infants unnecessarily. 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.”
“It is an assault to have this done when a child is too young to even speak, or make this kind of decision,” wrote Janine N., who signed the petition. “It’s a form of child abuse — if you’re barely allowed to smack a child, why is this allowed. There needs to be a minimum age of a least 10 years old,” said Laura L., another signatory.
“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 affects on the ear, in the skin and muscle,” said Tami in support of the campaign. “The question is, what age is appropriate? Certainly a baby or a child has no opportunity of consenting to having the procedure done.”
Many celebrity toddlers have their ears pierced, including Kim Kardashian’s daughter North and Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy. Gisele Bündchen caused an uproar when she posted a picture to her Instagram account showing her then seven-month-old daughter Vivian Lake with pierced ears.
Photo credit: Gisele Bündchen/Instagram
However in Bündchen’s home country, Brazil, the ears of female infants are pierced shortly after birth as a matter of course, as they are in many other South American countries like Columbia and Nicaragua.
Those who believe in piercing babies’ ears for cultural reasons have taken exception to the petition.
“As someone who had their ears pierced as a baby (a month old), I find this campaign absolutely and utterly pointless,” commented Dana C. “I am pleased that my parents got it done for me when I was a child and I have no regrets that they did.”
Guidance published in July 2013 by Public Health England and the Tattoo and Piercing Industry Union made it clear there is no minimum age for body piercing but parents must give consent for the body piercing of minors.
What do you think? Should there be a lower age limit on ear piercing? Does it matter whether it’s done for cultural or vanity reasons? Let us know in the comments below.