Law to require youngsters to have parental consent before body piercing - your thoughts please?

(35 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Oct-11 17:49:18

Evening all
There is currently a consultation in Wales about changing the law to introduce a statutory minimum age at which young people can get body piercing. This new law would require a parent/guardian to give a letter of consent and/or attend. The Today programme are asking what your thoughts are on this. Would be grateful to hear them.
Thanks.

NOTE FROM WELSH ASSEMBLY MARCH 011

The Minister for Health and Social Services has agreed to consult on whether a statutory minimum age of consent for cosmetic piercings should to be introduced in Wales.

Date of decision:

29th March 2011
Statement of information:

Cosmetic piercing has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among younger age groups. There are a number of complications that can arise following a cosmetic piercing procedure including skin infections, tearing of the skin and swelling. Any piercing of the skin, including cosmetic piercing, carries a risk of transmission of blood borne viruses, such as hepatitis. Such risks arise primarily where unclean or non-sterile equipment is used, where unhygienic premises or practices are maintained and/or where aftercare is lacking.

Currently, there is no statutory minimum age of consent for cosmetic piercing in Wales and therefore a young person can themselves consent to a cosmetic piercing. Although many young people make the decision to have a cosmetic piercing in collaboration with their parent or guardian ("parent"), some young people take this decision without their parent's involvement and consent. In some cases this can lead to conflict within the family and/or the young person suffering complications which could have been reduced if a parent had been involved.

The Welsh Assembly Government is seeking views on whether legislation should be introduced which will require the involvement and consent of parents before a cosmetic piercing procedure is performed on a young person below a certain age.

The Minister for Health and Social Services agreed the content of the consultation document so that it is issued for consultation.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 17-Oct-11 17:51:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tortington Mon 17-Oct-11 17:54:25

ohhhhh a letter?

like the ones i didn't signed to get them out of PE?

sounds like plausible deniability ineffective bollocks to me

CaptainMartinCrieff Mon 17-Oct-11 17:54:35

My personal opinion is no body piercings AT ALL before the age of 12 and between 12-16 parental consent should be required. I know it's controversial and people often claim that piercing is often a cultural thing but I cannot stand to see pierced ears on babies, toddlers and young children.

nickschick Mon 17-Oct-11 17:55:07

I thought this was the case? and surely if such a procedure is carried out with an underage child the piercer/tattooist should be prosecuted?

CaptainMartinCrieff Mon 17-Oct-11 17:56:20

hellmouth is correct though, a letter wouldn't work... Parental accompaniment for the procedure should be the requirement.

lubeybooby Mon 17-Oct-11 18:10:16

Yeah a letter is no good. The actual parent should be present or they will just get forged.

stripeybumpinthenight Mon 17-Oct-11 18:15:24

Surely they would need to attend - the letter thing would be a joke. What's the legal situation in the rest of the UK?

crystalglasses Mon 17-Oct-11 18:19:21

I told my dd that percings and tatoos were against the law without parental consent below age 18 - and she believed me. I thought (think) it is the case in the case of tattoos?

practicallyimperfect Mon 17-Oct-11 18:26:40

I teach kids whose parents take them to get piercings and tattoos. I had a girl in year 10 (so 14/15) who had a note from mum explaining that she couldn't do PE as she had a tattoo. A phone call confirmed mum knew about it.

So I don't think it will make much difference.

chrisrobin Mon 17-Oct-11 18:33:23

I agree, parents should be present until the age of 16, a letter is pointless.

I'm not keen on piercings on children and would rather WAG brought in some firm rules on minimum age for piercing full stop, never mind if parents were agreeable. However, I realise that there are cultural reasons behind some young children/babies having ears pierced so it's probably not workable.

I don't think body piercing/modification or tattoos should be allowed under the age of 18, whether they have parental permission or not. At a push I'd go with 16 for some piercings (because they can be removed with minimal scarring), but below that - not a chance. I could be wrong, but I think that in London it is illegal?

I have no issues with piercings or tattoos (I have them!) but I think it's a decision you should make for yourself as an adult, not something that's done as a whim as a child.

I should say that I'm seeing body piercing and ear piercing as two separate things - I'm not going all out for a ban on ear piercing before 18!

Maryz Mon 17-Oct-11 18:37:59

While in theory I think it is a good idea, I don't think it will make much difference in the long run to be honest. Most kids who have piercings will be able to persuade their parents to sign for it.

Most of dd's friends (15 year olds) went into town last week and got their belly buttons pierced.

ds got his eyebrow done at 14, and got a tattoo at 15. I would have signed for both (extenuating circumstances for both - I wouldn't sign for either for dd atm).

A reputable piercer will simply not pierce someone under the age of 16 without parental consent, and rightly so. But then I used to go to a reputable piercer, who had mothers coming in with 7 year olds wanting their belly button piercings. SHe was always a bit torn about what to do, because she knew that they would just go to some backstreet shonky place if she refused.

So I'd personally be all for legislation forbidding body piercing for under 14's and parental consent, by means of a signed consent form for under 16's.

Hassled Mon 17-Oct-11 19:07:36

"This new law would require a parent/guardian to give a letter of consent and/or attend" - it does all smack a bit of a note to get out of PE, doesn't it? And as we know, those are easily forgeable. Even if you drag you parent along, that could be anyone - if your mother doesn't approve you get your mate's feckless mother who does.

I do agree that yes, there should be constraints. Just can't think of a way those constraints could be enforceable.

Bunbaker Mon 17-Oct-11 19:10:35

As an old fuddy duddy I would welcome a change in the law. I have no problem with ear piercing in teenagers, but I don't find any other form of body piercing attractive at all. The teenagers I know (two nieces) with body piercings are lovely, but I just look at their (IMO disfigured) pretty faces and think "why on earth did you want to spoil your looks". I don't say anything of course and don't make any comment at all about their appearance - thus disappointing them grin

DD's school has a very strict policy about body piercings, so there wouldn't be any point in getting any before 18 anyway.

RedRubyBlue Mon 17-Oct-11 19:18:52

I worked in dentistry and saw the horrendous damage that was done to teeth by tongue piercings. The patient would literally be spitting out parts of their teeth as a result of the constant 'clacking' of the stud against their teeth. The enamel literally used to shatter.

On a very serious note, there are large blood vessels in the tongue and anyone with a history of rheumatic fever should never have an oral piercing as this can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream that attacks the heart and can have fatal results.

Tongue piercing in my experience is a fad with very long lasting consequences.

ApplesinmyPocket Mon 17-Oct-11 19:37:44

I think it's a reasonable idea in principle. Teens can be pretty rebellious and devilishly resourceful, though. I allowed DD1 at 14 to get her ears pierced once each in the normal place, but refused to let her go on to have a pretty hmm line of studs around the ear rim. So she did it herself with a needle. I'm sure she won't be the only one to think of that sad

(She is grown-up now and turned out very sensible. But it seemed someone took my nice little girl away at 11 and didn't return her till she was 20!)

betheldeath Mon 17-Oct-11 20:03:41

Considering that most reputable piercing parlours would point blank refuse to pierce a person under 18 unless a guardian was present this is a total no brainer.

Even then, the piercer is still within their rights to refuse to pierce on any given grounds. I used to pierce and I would rather lose the business than my reputation for piercing people who were too young to look after them properly or to understand the rammifications of it all.

Funnily enough there are now HUNDREDS of procedures being performed on the nhs for kids that stretched their ears as a fad and then grew up and decided they didn't want/like it anymore. (Idiots.)

There is a voluntary code of practice that most places stick to. If Wales implement this it will bring them into line with the rest of the UK.

How naive I am - it never occurred to me that there was not a relevant law!

Absolutely, all body piercings/modifications/tattoos should be illegal under the age of 16 or 18, apart from ear-piercing, which is culturally acceptable and not as potentially damaging as other modifications. Even ear-piercing a minor should not be done except in the presence of an adult who has given identification and signed a document stating that they have the authority to permit the procedure.

violetwellies Mon 17-Oct-11 21:17:29

Having worked with a fabulous sporty teenager, paralysed by spinal lesions following infected belly button piercing I Would like them illegal maybe before 30?

pinkteddy Mon 17-Oct-11 21:32:07

violetwellies that is awful. I haven't heard of that before.

The (relatively) new fashion for stretching the ear is the worst IMO. That will never go back if you change your mind. My friends beautiful dd has just had that done aged 15. Very sad. Should not be allowed until 18 IMHO.

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Mon 17-Oct-11 21:35:13

If a person isn't old enough to make the decision without a parent present what is the point in letting them have it anyway?

Why not make piercing and tattoos illegal before 18? Fat lot of good it does me saying dd can have a tattoo at 14.. I don't have to live with it, the adult who had the tattoo at 14 is the one stuck with it.

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Mon 17-Oct-11 21:36:10

Also why should I be allowed to make the decision to pierce dd's ears before she is old enough to say no about it?

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