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Ear-Piercing 101

Where to Pierce?

Before you let your daughter get her ears pierced, do your homework. Although complications are rare, she could develop an allergic reaction (particularly to earrings containing nickel) or an infection. The most sanitary place to get ears pierced is your pediatrician's or dermatologist's office, although not all doctors do the procedure.

How to Check for Sterility and Safety

Prior to piercing, the technician should wash her hands, put on gloves, and cleanse your child's earlobes with an antibacterial cleanser.

Find out when the piercer was trained and how many piercings she does in an average day. Ideally, choose someone who's been performing at least three to five piercings per day for a year. Find out whether your child's earlobes will be numbed with a numbing cream, and ask what you should do if problems develop later.

Which Earrings Are Best?

Surprisingly, 14K gold isn't safest: Surgical-steel posts are the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

How to Clean and Care

Your daughter's piercings should heal in four to six weeks. In the meantime, she can avoid infection by cleaning the area twice a day with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, and she can prevent scar tissue from attaching to the posts by gently rotating them.

Copyright © 2007. Used with permission from the January 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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