By Paige Wolf
I first got my ears pierced in first grade and they immediately got infected. Honestly, I didn’t have the maturity or interest to take care of them, and they closed up soon after. I spent much of elementary school wearing ridiculous huge clip-on earrings!
I don’t remember where I went to get my ears re-pierced in fifth grade but it was probably somewhere at the mall. I then spent much of my middle school years ill-advisedly self-piercing holes all the way up my ear with a sewing needle.
These days some parents get their baby’s ear-pierced just months after birth with the professional assistance of their pediatricians. Others choose to wait until their kids explicitly ask for it – and promise to actually take care of their piercings.
Some city parents wanted to go with the professional body-piercers at places like Infinite Body Piercing on South Street. But they were turned away because of the city’s body art regulations, which state “It is prohibited to perform tattooing or body piercing on any body part of a person under the age of sixteen (16) except when prescribed by a physician’s statement.”
According to a statement by Infinite Body Piercing, “When Philadelphia piercing regulations became law in 2002, they were specifically intended to cover the newly popular practice of body piercing only, and purposefully did not seek to regulate jewelry stores that offered ear piercing—such as stores that you often see at shopping malls. To ensure this didn’t unduly impact ear-piercing-only studios, ear piercing was specifically exempted from these regulations.”
But several months ago, the Environmental Engineering Office of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health changed the interpretation: The exception for ear piercing was now considered to cover all ear piercing, even at piercing and tattoo studios.
So recently Infinite Body Piercing began the practice of piercing children ages 8-12 years old by appointment only. Body art studios outside the city like Mean Street Tattoos in Bensalem and Black Cat Collective in Perkasie all have their own rules and regulations for children’s ear piercing services.
As always, store like Claire’s continue to offer free ear piercing with a “starter kit” – basically a choice of studs and some cleaning solution. These start at around $30. You will need to bring a parent or guardian if you are under 18. (Fun fact: I took my mom to Claire’s to get her ears pierced when she was 50!)
Justice in the new Fashion District (formerly “The Gallery at Market East”) offers the same deal.
So whether you want to go to body art professionals or the convenient services of the mall, you have plenty of options as a parent. Experiences and results may differ – we got lots of different opinions on our Facebook page.
But anything is better than the dangerous DIY insanity that was all the craze in our ’90s youth!