CHILDREN AND TATTOO SHOPS:
Why it's better to keep the kids at home.
By Emily Bourke, Tattoo Artist at Sandra's Ink
I should preface this short article with a disclaimer: I love kids! Actually, many tattoo artists and piercers have children, and while I don't have any (yet), I still think they're just about the cutest things in the world.
Now with that in mind, the shop I work in (Sandra's Ink & Labyrinth Tattoos) is actually an "adults only" space. We do sometimes make the exception for teens that are watching an adult get a tattoo or piercing, depending on what is being done. But of course, we've had our fair share of babies, toddlers, and primary school kids, and let me tell you... they're SUPER ADORABLE... before the tattooing begins.
To explain, let's put this to B.E.D.
B.E.D. stands for Boredom, Exposure, and Distraction. Which is my cleaver term for the main reasons we don't recommend bringing kids to a tattoo shop.
First of all, no matter how well behaved a little one acts, a tattoo shop is just plain boring for kids. The only books we have at our shop are artist portfolios, which are our means of business and need to be handled delicately. Any parent will tell you that even though a child has been good for the whole day, Murphy's Law will kick in at the worst moment. As soon as that needle touches skin, that little one is going to want attention, or want to run around, or start fussing, and often this includes a lot of noise.
The work we do involves the body and pain, and takes immense levels of concentration for both the clients and our artists, and especially for the cosmetic artists who are tattooing eyeliner. Having loud, crying or yelling babies / toddlers is very distracting. It is hard to resist the urge to take care of a little one who is in distress, even if there is another adult present and caring for the child. A client in the tattoo chair is not going to be able to stop a little one from exploring, which leads to my next point.
Any reputable shop is extremely rigorous in its cleaning process, and our shop is no exception. However it is a workplace, a tattoo shop in fact, and we have people from all walks of life coming in and out of our shop on a daily basis. The floor of a tattoo shop is not a recommended place for a little one to be crawling or playing. Young children may not understand to not touch certain things, such as the bio-hazardous sharps-disposal containers for example. There are also a number of glass displays containing very fragile merchandise. There is a great possibility that young children may damage these materials and potentially harm themselves. It is not the responsibility of the shop and staff to monitor your children while you are being tattoo.
We also find ourselves often cleaning up after a child that has been in our shop. For example, most kids need to climb up onto a couch, and their little feeties carry in all kinds of bacteria from outside. If a client who has just received a tattoo sits on that couch, they now have that outside bacteria on them and are more at risk for contamination. These are the things we think about on a daily basis as part of our job is to keep our clients away from any risks.
In conclusion, if your tattoo artist asks you to keep the kids at home, please do not be offended. We love kids, just not in a tattoo shop.