(CBS4) -From antibiotics to vaccinations, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice and guidelines on a wide range of important health issues for children and their parents.
And now, in keeping with the times, America’s pediatricians for the first time have guidelines in tattoos and piercings.
Close to 40 percent of millennials have at least one tattoo or piercing, with boomers its about 6 percent. The numbers on teens is not clear, but it is known that the legalities of “body art” differ from state to state.
In Colorado, statutes mandate that parental permission be given prior to anyone under age 18 getting a “tat” or implanted body jewelry.
The guidelines themselves aren’t that rigid, and actually more along the lines of having a talk about sex or drugs, meaning, it’s a talk we parents should be having with our children.
Here are several points of emphasis in the new guidelines.
- An emphasis on hygiene, making sure that conditions are as sanitary as a medical clinic. New, clean needles. Gloves. Fresh ink, etc.
- Caution if a child has some disorder or is on some medication such as a steroid or immune suppressant that might make any puncture of skin risky.
- Awareness of healing times: an ear piercing is typically 2-3 weeks; a tongue is 6 weeks; a belly button is up to 9 months.
- Awareness of the risk of infection, allergic reactions, as well as the risk of hyper scarring. That means you scar too well as you heal, forming keloids, which is a very thickened, raised scar.
- The fact that we just don’t know that the long term effects of ink are on the body. Sure, tattoos have been around for centuries, but today, there’s obviously updated medical knowledge and concern about how the body handles injections of ink.
- The importance of removing body jewelry prior to playing contact sports.
- Think twice before tattooing/piercing a head, face or neck. There are employers who will shy from hiring you.
And certainly last but not least, the understanding that today’s decision is a lifelong decision. Even though you hear about things such as laser removal of a tattoo, those techniques are not perfect, so if you get some “ink remorse,” you may be out of luck.
So parents, have the talk. It’s important, as so many things are.
For more information, visit healthychildren.org.