I don’t personally like pierced ears on small children–or jewelry on children at all, really–but even I think this British MP is going way too far by attempting to make it illegal to pierce a baby or small child’s ears in the U.K.
According to The Guardian, Labour MP Mark Tami wants to ask the House of Commons to raise the minimum age for piercings so that people will no longer be able to pierce the ears of babies or toddlers.
“If we allowed parents to do other things to their children’s faces, like tattooing, that would be appalling, but although piercings can heal, they can still cause distorting affects on the ear, in the skin and muscle,” Tami said.
While Tami appears to think ear holes are equivalent to facial tattoos and that there are muscles in the earlobe, he has not specified the age at which he thinks it is acceptable for children to get their ears pierced.
“I would like to resurrect the issue, see it discussed again in parliament, and look to see what a potential age restriction should be,” he said. “The question is, what age is appropriate? Certainly a baby or a child has no opportunity of consenting to having the procedure done.”
Tami’s campaign is related to an ongoing Internet petition calling for a ban on baby and toddler ear-piercing.
“(Ear piercing) s a form of child cruelty,” the petition says. “Severe pain and fear is inflicted upon infants unnecessarily. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy the parent’s vanity. Other forms of physically harming children are illegal- this should be no different.”
More than 40,000 people have signed the petition calling for the ban, and some of the comments are awfully vehement for something that even the American Academy of Pediatrics says carries little risk of lasting harm. Several commenters on the petition are calling the practice of infant ear-piercing “barbaric,” “tacky,” “child abuse,” “cheap and nasty,” and “only for the scum parents’ vanity.”
Ear piercing is a cultural thing, and many of the mothers who choose to pierce their babies’ ears had their own ears pierced as babies, so they’re going into it with personal experience behind them. It’s not child abuse, it’s not a big deal, and it certainly isn’t “barbaric.” I won’t be piercing my daughter’s ears–piercing is a cultural thing, and I was not allowed to get pierced until 10–but the government should certainly not be banning the practice.