One mum has argued her case for taking her young children to get their ears pierced (opens in new tab) at tattoo studios, rather than on the high street.
In the piece for parenting site Scary Mommy, titled 'A Tattoo Shop Is The Best (And Coolest) Place To Pierce Your Kid's Ears,' author Christina Marfice acknowledges that having their ears pierced is high up on the agenda of most little girls - but says that her own experience of having her ears pierced at the mall at the age of 11 was a pretty traumatic one.
'I loved my newly pierced ears, but they hurt,' she writes. 'I put up with it for a few days before asking my mom if it was normal for them to be so sore. She took a look, and my lobes were angry red and oozing. My brand new earrings had to be taken out so the infection could heal.'
After a couple more similar episodes, she says that she 'gave up on having pierced ears.' It wasn't until she got to college and befriended someone who worked as a tattooist that she realised she might have gone about getting them in the wrong way.
'When I was a kid getting my first piercings, my mom wouldn't have let me set foot in a tattoo shop. I wish she had,' she explains, pointing out that tattooists have far more extensive training than shop assistants on the high street, as well as a far cleaner environment, and often use needles instead of guns, which some consider to be safer.
Now her own daughter is begging her for pierced ears, she says she won't be taking her anywhere else.
Christina also mentions Brian Keith Thompson, a body piercer and tattoo artist in West Hollywood, who is part of a growing movement of tattooers advocating for parents to bring their children in for piercings.
'The stud gets placed into the gun and the gun uses blunt force to get it through the ear. It punctures it, not pierces it,' he told PopSugar.
And referring to the fact that piercing guns are often made of plastic and cannot withstand the hot temperatures required for proper sterilisation, he adds: 'You can sanitise it, wipe it down with MadaCide, but you can't sterilise it. It’s made out of plastic. To properly sanitise something, you need heat and steam.'
He makes a convincing argument, but points out that not all piercers will want to work with kids.
As with anything, he encourages doing your research: 'Go to Yelp, read reviews, and check websites out. If they have positive reviews, then call [to ask],' he advises.
Would you take your children to a tattoo parlour to get their ears pierced? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!