Okay, there’s a vast amount of opinion on this topic. Anywhere from “I pierced my daughter’s ears when she was a baby” to “I wouldn’t do it unless my child asked…and even then, she might be too young.” So needless to say, much of it lies in opinion and culture (in Venezuela for instance, there’s a tendency to pierce a child’s ears at a very young age).
But we decided to follow a practical path when deciding: responsibility. A piercing is a serious enough endeavor so your child should be old enough to take care of the new piercings (yes, that eliminates very young children). Just like owning a pet, a child should understand the importance of a new piercing and follow through on all the hygienic steps that are needed. (Ideally you should not be cleaning your child’s ears twice a day!)
Other points to consider (from a jeweler’s point of view): choose earrings made of surgical stainless steel, platinum, titanium or 14K gold. These are the least likely to provoke an allergic reaction.
Go an expert. Some pediatricians will pierce your child’s ears. If not, popular jewelry chains often have a stricter protocol of hygiene and expertise. Do your research first.