Toddler forced to undergo surgery to remove stuck earring
When Michelle Moore noticed that the front of her daughter's Hello Kitty earring had fallen off, she didn't realize how serious the situation was going to become — or how quickly.
When the North Carolina mom went to remove her toddler's earring, she noticed that the front flange was actually embedded into her daughter's earlobe — only the post and the earring's back remained, sticking out the back of the 3-1/2-year-old's ear. What was left of the earring was stuck, and she was unable to easily remove it.
"I watched it for a few days hoping that it would work itself back out," Moore says, but after a few days, she was no longer comfortable waiting and made an appointment with the family's pediatrician.
The family was promptly referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor, who quickly determined that outpatient surgery was the best option for safe removal. This situation was stressful enough, but when Moore went to remove her other earring before the surgery took place, the face to that earring also fell off.
"Luckily, this one was not embedded in her ear yet, and the doctor was able to remove it while she was under anesthesia without having to cut the earlobe," she shares. "He did, however, have to make an incision on the ear with the embedded earring in order to remove it."
Image: Michelle Moore
Her surgery went well and the toddler will recover fine, but Moore spoke with SheKnows because she wants to get the word out about these earrings to save other little kids the pain and heartache.
"Sophia has had her ears pierced for about a year," she explains. "She initially had another pair of earrings, but likes Hello Kitty so my mother-in-law bought her a pair of Hello Kitty earrings from Claire's." Moore notes that her mother-in-law was hoping to get a quality pair of earrings so she selected a set of starter earrings, which are the ones that are used when someone gets their ears pierced.
Nobody expects the face of an earring to fall off, allowing for the flange of the earring to become embedded in their child's ear. And nobody wants to see their young child going under anesthesia because they were wearing earrings that didn't work the way they were designed to — which is to not fall apart while in a child's ear.
If your child has pierced ears, make sure you inspect them regularly to make sure the front is firmly attached to the post so this doesn't happen to your child. You should also make sure you follow the directions for aftercare to keep infection at bay. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rubbing alcohol or antibiotic ointment be applied to a new piercing three times daily for a few days to reduce the risk of infection. After that, parents are advised to keep an eye on the post on the back of the ear, which can also become embedded in the earlobe, as well as keeping an eye out for contact allergies, tearing and other complications.
Moore has since been in contact with Claire's, who apologized and promised to investigate further. Claire's had not returned SheKnows's call for comment at press time.