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Kid’s Ear Pierced with a Needle or Gun?

kid's ears pierced with a needle

My eldest daughter went for her ears piercing yesterday and it seemed like such a monumental moment in her childhood! If you have your ears pierced it is always something you can remember. A rite of passage! I was 9 years old, went to Claire’s and was actually quite surprised I was allowed to have it done that young! My Mum was always quite strict, so I expected to have a long wait. I remember they used a gun and I do remember it was a bit of a bang when they were pierced. Since then I have had my ears pierced again on both lobes with a gun and I had a helix piercing about 12 months ago with a needle. This final piercing definitely fuelled my decision for my daughter to have her ears pierced with a needle, as I had a really good experience. She wasn’t anxious, as can suffer with this sometimes. It’s a common question to ask when deciding about children’s ear piercing. Do you get your kid’s ears pierced with a needle or gun?

Personally I didn’t want to pierce my children’s ears as babies. I know for some people they do and it can be a tradition. Again for people it is a common question: piercing gun vs needle for baby? But my opinion would be the same, an ear piercing with a needle would always be my first choice.

Where Do I Get My Kid’s Ears Pierced?

People often wonder where to get their children’s ears pierced. In my experience you can either go to a local piercing and tattoo parlour or somewhere like Claire’s Accessories. They have different prices and different procedures and after experienced both places myself as a girl getting my ears pierced and as an adult. A kid’s piercing is an exciting and scary thing and you want to get it right for them.

Children’s Ear Piercing with a Needle

After I had my very positive experience getting my helix pierced around 12 months ago by a local piercer, who works in a tattoo and piercing parlour, I knew this was where I wanted my eldest to go. I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I had my ears pierced in Claire’s as a child and although I’ve watched a few done recently, I can’t comment on the experience fully. All I remember was the crunch of the gun, sore ears and lots of surgical spirit!

I can tell you about my daughter’s experience getting her ears pierced with a needle if you are looking for that sort of information. We chose Emporium Tattoo and Piercing in Solihull.

Firstly, things were very novel, as we went straight after opening post Covid-19. When I went last year for my helix piercing we were at the beginning of the summer holidays on a Saturday and there was a long queue when I came out. Now there is an appointment system in place and you must stick to it. We were greeted with the usual hand sanitiser and asked to wear one of the disposable masks on arrival. We could not wear our own.

What I liked about Emporium 12 months ago, was how sterile it was. I’m sure this is true with most piercing places but compared to sitting in a cluttered Claire’s, everything felt so clean and prepared. It felt like this was even more so after Covid. The piercing room was immaculate.

I decided to have a third lobe piercing on the left side so after completing some forms and showing ID for both of us, I sat in the piercing chair and went first, so my eldest had an idea of what was going to happen. After a dot being drawn on my ear for where the piercing was going to go I was ready to start. As you don’t even see the needle, I was told to take a deep breath, which I did and it was done. The actual piercing was not painful at all and I remember a little discomfort when the jewellery was put on. From my memory it was less painful than the gun lobe piercings I had before. The needle likely being smaller. My jewellery was in and then I was done!

Then it was my eldest’s turn.

girl in chair waiting for kids ears pierced with a needle

She was amazing to be fair and didn’t seem in the least bit nervous. The only negative thing with a needle piercing is you do need to have both ears done separately, where I believe in Claire’s, they can do a person on each side with the gun.

She would need both sides done but the process was so smooth, it didn’t matter. I held her hand and she was told to do a deep breath like me. She did clasp my hand a little harder but barely flinched. With a few deep breaths, she was ready for the next side and again barely moved, as her ear was pierced. She did tell me it was a little uncomfortable when the jewellery was put in but that was it! Since the piercing she has complained of no pain, even when bathing both in salt water since.

The whole experience was great. I’m unsure of the pricing for Claire’s and we did upgrade both of our pieces of jewellery from a plain titanium ball on the bar to pink crystal for my eldest and a smaller, clear crystal for me. I do think it was bit more expensive than Claire’s and piercing parlours will vary from place to place.

However it was worth it for us. I found the piercing parlour professional, extremely clean and sterile and I know the process was less painful that the guns I had many years ago. I also knew the piercer had a good reputation from friends who had piercings themselves.

If I was asked to recommend which was a better process for piercing in children I would always go with a needle piercing. For one you are with a fully trained professional. This is what they do, day in, day out, often dealing with very complex piercings too. I found it less painful and felt completely safe, even post Covid-19. Everyone wore masks.

Children’s ear piercing with a needle would be a definite yes from me. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Update – Kid’s Ears Pierced- My Daughter

Since writing this article my daughter has had no problems with her earrings. I wondered if she would get sore or get an infection but this was never the case. Kid’s ear piercing can be daunting but if they are keen and responsible, it can be a good way to get them to learn to look after themselves. My daughter reminded me to bathe her ears and kept hers so clean!

Getting your kid’s ears pierced can be a huge decision but it was a good one for my daughter and using a needle was best!

Children's ear piercing with a needle or gun



  1. July 19, 2020 / 9:29 pm

    I think I was 12 when I had mine first done. It was with a gun. They did it too close to the edge of the earlobe, so I had to let it heal and then done again. Ended up with them being uneven on both sides.

  2. Karen Legge
    July 19, 2020 / 9:39 pm

    I can still remember having mine done with a gun at the Cornwall County Show 35 years ago! They felt very hot after! She did so well. They look really pretty.

  3. July 20, 2020 / 1:43 pm

    She looks so happy about it, bless her! Olivia is still too young at three, we feel, but we’ve already discussed it and would definitely get hers done with a needle when the time comes in a reputable studio.

  4. July 20, 2020 / 8:42 pm

    I would love to have mine done again. Years of working in restaurants etc. meant I let them be closed up.

  5. July 21, 2020 / 9:28 am

    She was so brave! Glad to hear you both had a positive experience. I hadn’t realised that you could choose between a gun or needle piercing for ears. That’s very good to know. Mine isn’t particularly interested in getting her ears pierced at the moment, but it will be handy for when she does want to.

  6. July 21, 2020 / 8:47 pm

    I’ve read so many horror stories about piercing children’s with a gun recently that I’d definitely choose a needle if either of my two decided to get theirs done. It seems like a much better option.

    Louise x

  7. July 22, 2020 / 10:32 pm

    Oh my goodness, I can still remember getting my ears pierced. My mums best friend took me as my birthday present, it hurt that much after the first one was pierced, she bribed me to get the second done! I have had more done since though so didn’t put me off for life