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Petition aims to ban baby ear-piercing

In many cultures, babies' ears are pierced soon after birth. But a petition gaining steam says the practice is cruel and calls for a ban.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

A petition to ban parents in the U.K. from piercing their child’s ears has gathered more than 36,000 signatures and generated a heated stream of comments from parents across the globe.

The movement, started by Susan Ingram on the petition-making website 38 Degrees, implores the U.K. minister of state for children and families to set a minimum age requirement for ear piercing and make the practice illegal for parents of babies and toddlers.

“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,” Ingram writes in the petition’s description.

Baby girl with earings
Cute... or cruel? A new petition aims to ban ear-piercing for babies and toddlers.Shutterstock

Supporters have left comments calling childhood ear piercing abusive, vain and unnecessary.

“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…” wrote one.

Others find the controversy over ear-piercing to be ridiculous.

“My goodness, one of the stupidest petitions I have ever seen. 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?” one opponent of the petition commented.

So is ear piercing dangerous for a child? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), if the piercing is performed in a sterile environment and is cared for, there is little risk. The AAP does, however, recommend waiting until a child is old enough to ask for ear piercings and to take on the task of caring for their pierced ears themselves.

What do you think?