An angry mum blasted a jewelry retailer after her seven-year-old daughter landed up in hospital when the back of her earring got stuck in her ear and she had to have it scooped out using a scalpel.

Suzie Nisbet says that when her daughter Lily’s ears were pierced she was assured by staff at popular UK Jewelry chain, Claires Accessories that she could safely change her earrings after just three weeks, as long as she used their own-brand cleaning solution, as reported in the Daily Mail.

Ms Nisbet said that she cleaned Lily’s ears three times a day for a month, her daughter was in severe pain after changing her earrings.

The concerned mum assumed that the butterfly backing had fallen off while Lily slept but when a nurse friend visited, she advised Ms Nisbet to take Lily to get checked out – suspecting that the ear had become infected.

The Butterfly Was Embedded In Her Ear

Lily spent four hours in the hospital in Essex in an attempt to extract the butterfly which had embedded itself into the back of her ear.

Photo by: Mercury Press and Media


The poor girl was in such intense pain that it took two nurses, one to remove it and one to hold her down, to successfully get it out.

‘I’m Furious’

Ms Nisbet said: ‘I’m really furious with Claire’s Accessories. I trusted them as a global brand when they said the earrings could be changed in three weeks and then this happens.

‘In hospital there was nothing I could do for Lily, all I could do was hold her hand and try to make her giggle. I felt so helpless, I just felt like crying.

‘I felt so guilty as I was the one who’d taken her there to get them done. If I could have gone through it for her, I would have done.’

We Assumed We Would Need Six Week’s Healing Time

The mum-of-three had taken Lily to the shop to see whether they had time to get her ears pierced before going back to school – assuming she would need six weeks’ healing time.

But Lily was thrilled to hear that she could safely take them out in as little as three weeks if she used a special cleaning solution.

Ms Nisbet said: ‘The school she goes to doesn’t tolerate any piercings, they’re strict like that, so her ears needed to be healed by the time she went back to school.

‘I didn’t think we’d have time before then but I said I’d ask.

‘I was told that with this particular solution they would be healed within three weeks. I did think it was quick, but I didn’t question it as Claire’s is a reputable store and I trusted them.

‘Lily was absolutely delighted. She’s a real girly girl and was on top of the world when she had them done as she’d wanted them pierced for such a long time.

‘She was very proud of them and loved showing them off. I also bought three pairs of sterling silver earrings for her to put in when she could change them, she was thrilled.’

The mum said that it was about a week after changing the earings that her right ear showed signs of infection.

She said: ‘Three weeks to the day after she got her ears pierced, Lily was keeping count, she really wanted to put a new pair of earrings in.

‘On the day we took them out they looked ok, they weren’t weeping, so we put the new ones in.

‘About a week after that she came downstairs complaining that it felt weird and we noticed there was some weeping.

‘We didn’t think it was possible for the back to get stuck in her ear due to the size of it and searched her bed to try and find it.

‘I couldn’t push the earring back or forwards, it was absolutely horrible.

‘She was screaming every time I tried to remove it, at this point I didn’t realise the back was still in there, I thought the lump was an infection.

‘My friend who’s a nurse came round for lunch. She took one look at her ear and said it was the back of her earring in her ear.

‘I felt absolutely terrible, so guilty, as I’d spent three days trying to tug it out.’

They Had To Use A Scalpel To Get It Out

Ms Nisbet described the horrific hospital visit:

‘They gave her a local anaesthetic and then she was just puffing away on gas and air. They had to get another nurse in to hold her down as Lily kept trying to swipe her away. They tried to prise it out but it wasn’t coming.

‘At that point they said it was too embedded and that she would need to use a scalpel. Those 20 minutes felt like four hours, it was so traumatising for us all.

‘When the needle went into her ear it obviously really hurt her as it was so sensitive and she screamed out. She was then properly crying too, it was horrendous.

‘When the anaesthetic kicked in the nurse got the scalpel and had to re-open the wound and pop it out.

‘She just threw it into this bowl then the front came out and that was it. They then cleaned it up and put a plaster on it, thankfully it didn’t need stitches, and has healed really well.

‘It was horrific watching her go through such agony.

‘My son Charlie was with us. They normally fight like cat and dog and but he held her hand throughout it, he was so sweet.’

Ms Nisbet has vowed never to step foot in a Claire’s Accessories store again and is now urging the chain not to encourage customers to change ear piercings in just three weeks.

‘This was bad advice given by a name I trusted. I don’t know why they are pushing the three-week healing process guidelines. A piercing is a wound and needs at least six weeks to heal.

‘I feel very disappointed in Claire’s Accessories – we were such good customers but not any more.’

Lily is now ‘back to her normal self but she’s adamant she’s not getting her ears pierced again anytime soon.’

A spokesperson for Claire’s Accessories said: ‘Our piercing procedure and all of our piercing instruments, supplies and earrings are designed to promote the safest and most hygienic piercing experience.

‘The rapid after care lotion is dermatologist and paediatrician tested for the effective care of the pierced ear. Three weeks of use is an appropriate and approved length of time.

‘The Rapid lotion is safe and allergy tested and its soothing formula is skin friendly.

‘If undue pain / swelling / redness occurs at any time, seek medical advice immediately. Do not remove studs before the relevant medical advice.’

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  • So terrible but these things happen. My children were OK but after 8 weeks I changed my earrings and a further two weeks on woke up with blood oozing out of my ear. Able to fix it with Dettol but a child would have been distressed. When I changed my earrings I changed them to sleepers as recommended.


  • really awful and scary – my daughter has wanted her ears pierced since she was 2!


  • Ouch! I have never heard of this happening, but there is a first time for everything. Its such an odd case I don’t know if you can place blame the jewelry place it could have been after care, the earrings themselves or a reaction to the metal.


  • Oh ouch! I’m cringing just thinking about this. I get she goes back for more piercings later in life. Kids are so resilient


  • What a horrible experience that may emotionally scar this girl for life. I had my ears pierced in Grade 1 and religiously did all the right things to avoid infection. Cheap earrings or those with nickel have plagued my ears and caused minor infections over the years, but thankfully not to this stage.


  • Oh that’s why my ears are not pierced.


  • Could the back have been put on too tight and caused the skin to swell and close over it?


  • Oh ouch! The worst I’ve had was a couple of years ago my youngest headbutted me on the ear, which pushed my earring into my neck behind the ear. Was a really weird feeling


  • Sorry but it sounds like the mother stopped cleaning the ears with the new earrings in. That was her first mistake. Second was putting in earrings that were not designed for keeping the piercing open but designed to be used on healed piercings. The poor girl. Next time, if there is one, do it right


  • Sounds like she’s looking for someone to blame for her own guilt. It’s not the stores fault that the backing got stuck in her daughters ear, or that this mother made it worse by trying to pull the earring out when it wouldn’t budge. That should’ve have been the first sign that she needed to see a doctor. My sister somehow managed to do this as a child, took the doctor less than five minutes to get it out after numbing the area, it’s not like earlobes are particularly fleshy especially in young girls. This woman has dramatized and blown an unfortunate incident way out of proportion. Commonsense would be not changing a peirced ear until you’re certain its fully healed and even then switching to a sleeper or something with a bigger backing.


  • You are putting foreign material in your ear, of course some people will have adverse reactions, my ear grew over the earring back within a fortnight of them being pierced, but the GP took less than a minute to make a small cut and remove it. It healed and no issue with the piercing since. Problem seems to have been the Mum and hospital staff not knowing what to do and cause unnecessary pain


  • I’m not sure how it’s the jewellers fault that the back claps got stuck in her ear?


  • That’s awful for the poor girl but I don’t think it’s the jewelers fault


  • Not sure this can 100% be blamed on the ear piercers, maybe something else went wrong to cause this. I took my daughter to get her ears pierced for her birthday, she was about 7. The first ear the gun jammed and they couldn’t detach it from her ear, blood was running down her neck, she was crying, I was panicking. They finally freed it, played around with it and asked if I wanted the second ear done. No! I said, but my daughter said yes and I was assured the gun jamming was a super rare thing to happen, they doubted it would happen again. And it did. Not as bad on the second ear, but it still jammed. My daughter has had issues with infected ears/earrings ever since and I often wonder if it’s because of the trauma of the piercing


  • Ouch, that must have been very painful. Poor girl ! And mum I understand you heart aches seeing your girl go through this !
    But these things can happen. Sometimes the ears don’t heal as quick or stay infected for a longer time, in which case you wait with changing earrings, continue with desinfecting it and maybe consult the chemist where you had it pierced or any location where they pierce really.


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