Article Image

American Academy of Pediatrics Announces Its First Recommendations on Tattoos, Piercings

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

AAP released a new set of guidelines for discussing tattoos and piercings with pediatric patients. Lead author Dr. Cora Breuner, MD spoke at an AAP Press Conference.

Cora Breuner, MD: That has changed considerably over the past 30 years. It was considered something that was done in the military or maybe in prisoner of war camps or by prisoners or by gangs and it didn’t necessarily have the best reputation by either the community or other people who got tattooed or pierced and there was probably more complications then. But now we see that in the younger generations it’s up to 30, 40, 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 30 have some kind of piercing or tattoo and basically it’s much more accepted in the younger generations than it is in the older generations.

It absolutely falls within the purview of the pediatrician because we take care of kids and want to make sure that they’re healthy from the start and all the way all the way through. This is something that is very important to provide pediatricians and other health care practitioners and parents as well an opportunity to know as much as they can about body art and to know about what to do if their patient or their child is considering it. I think if we ask about it then we would be able to provide more information to them ahead of time.

A H.E.A.D.S.S. assessment which is home education activity drugs sexuality suicide those questions need to be asked each and every time a teenager comes to see their provider without the parent in the room. If you think about that acronym there’s nothing in there that asks about possible tattooing or piercing. So I think now it should be: ‘Have you thought about getting this?’

You can’t get away from the television on a Sunday football game without seeing very, very powerful people financially and physically with a tattoo. When you see something, a lot of time think about wanting to get one yourself.

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med