Is Piercing A Baby’s Ear Child Abuse? Petition To Ban Gains Momentum In U.K.

Justin Streight - Author

Jun. 14 2015, Updated 3:02 a.m. ET

In the U.K., a petition to ban piercing a baby’s ears is gaining momentum, already gathering over 39,000 signatures. Proponents say that piercings are child cruelty because of the pain involved. Critics say it’s just ridiculous.

According to the Mirror, Susan Ingram launched the petition to the Minister of Children, Edward Timpson, on 38 Degrees.

The petition calls for the minister to “make it illegal for babies/toddlers to get their ears pierced. Set a minimum legal age requirement.”

Ingram makes her case on the petition page.

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“It is a form of child cruelty. Severe pain and fear is inflicted upon infants unnecessarily. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy the parents’ vanity. Other forms of physically harming children are illegal – this should be no different.”

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The petition has registered with many parents.

One wrote on the petition’s board, according to Today, “It is child abuse, pure and simple. If anyone put a piercing implement in any other part of a baby’s body, arrest and prosecution should follow.”

The petition is already making an impression on politicians too. The Guardian reports that Labour MP Mark Tami has promised to bring the baby piercing issue to the House of Commons. He explained that it’s something worth talking about.

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“I would like to resurrect the issue, see it discussed again in parliament, and look to see what a potential age restriction should be. The question is, what age is appropriate? Certainly a baby or a child has no opportunity of consenting to having the procedure done.”

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Another factor adding fuel to the flames is the new U.K. show Blinging Up Baby, which featured the parent of a 4-month-old who had her ears pierced. (It also had a 4-year-old with a spray tan.)

Despite the growing uproar, many parents simply say the petition is ridiculous and culturally blind.

One woman wrote on the 38 Degrees board, “”My goodness, one of the stupidest petitions I have ever seen.”

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“In South America all baby girls have their ears pierced as soon as they are born, always in the hospital and by a nurse. I wonder how many have died or have suffered mental health problems as a result?”

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The cultural element has been brought up by supporters and might even apply to differences between America and the U.K.

In unscientific polling done on Today, an American news outlet, a majority of voters said “Yes” to the question, “Is it OK for parents to get a baby’s or toddler’s ears pierced?”

On a separate poll on the Mirror, a news outlet in the U.K., people overwhelmingly said “No” to the question, “Should parents be allowed to pierce babies or toddlers’ ears?”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explained that so long as the ear piercing is done in a sterile environment and is tended to afterwards, there is little risk for the baby. Still, that doesn’t get into the issue of how much pain the baby feels for a procedure that is not necessary.

What do you think, should parents be allowed to pierce their baby’s ears?

[Image Credit: Jawahar Govindaraj/Wikimedia Commons]


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