A take on child consent and piercings

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at 10:05 PM

The idea of children, or even babies, getting their ears pierced has always been a subject of controversy due to their inability to clearly consent.

Raylene Marks, infuriated by this idea, quit her job at Claire’s after being told she would face disciplinary action if she refused to pierce the ears of a 7-year-old girl who clearly did not want her ears pierced.

“Usually it might take 15 minutes for a nervous child to pick out some earrings and get their ears pierced,” Marks told Today. However, the 7-year-old made it blatantly obvious, according to Marks, that her consent was withdrawn and she was showing emotions of legitimate fear.

According to Marks, the mother did not keep her promise of leaving if her daughter decided to not go through with the procedure. “She was putting a great deal of pressure on her daughter to go through with the piercing,” she said. “I’m inclined to respect a child’s right to say ‘NO’ to any adult forcing any kind of non-medical contact on them, so I told the other piercer I wouldn’t be part of the ear piercing for this girl. To my great relief, in the end the mother respected her daughter’s wishes and took her home.”

After this incident went viral, it revived the issue of child consent and if it is ethical to force a child to go through with a procedure that is strictly for vanity reasons.

Anytime skin is punctured, there is obviously a risk for potential infection. Seeing as most children and babies do not have developed immune systems yet, their risk for infection is even greater.

Pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) require parents to wait until their child is at least 6 months old to get their ears pierced. However, most doctors will recommend waiting until the child is at least 10 years old. The older the child, the more likely that they will be taking responsibility for keeping their ears clean of infection.

Although ear piercings are adorable, is it really worth putting a child at risk for pain and infection if it is only for vanity reasons? A child’s consent matters, therefore they should be the ones to decide when and if they want piercings.

Abby Martinson | edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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