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Help - My Child Wants A Tattoo!

Help - My Child Wants A Tattoo!

For many parents, this is a crisis moment. And the knee jerk reaction is usually negative. My child wants a tattoo? No, not my baby! It’s okay to have concerns. Half the job of a parent is worrying about your kids. You worry about their health and the safety of tattoos. You don’t want your child to get a tattoo and regret it later. Or simply, you may not want your child to “desecrate” their body. At the same time, you want to give your child the confidence and freedom of self-expression. For a lot of kids and young adults, this is one of the greatest appeals of tattoos. In this article we address your concerns and how to talk about tattoos with your kids.

Am I Just Out Of Touch?

Tattoos are everywhere these days. It’s a simple fact that tattoo are a part of mainstream culture. This leads a lot of parents to wonder if, perhaps, they are being “old fashioned” in their resistance to tattoos. The old stigmas against tattoos have been fading for decades. The days of thinking tattoos are for sailors and criminals are behind us. Today, it’s common to see them in offices and business meetings. In fact, even CEOs are commonly sporting tattoos. Maureen Chiquet of Channel, Jack Dorsey of Twitter & Square, and even the late Steve Jobs have all been inked. Current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has a large tattoo on his shoulder. That certainly makes it a little harder to argue that a tattoo will keep you from getting a good job!
Tattoo Prime Minister Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, with a Haida tattoo.
Admittedly, the stigma against tattoos in the workplace is not gone yet. While laws prevent discriminating against employees or potential hires due to their tattoos, it does sometimes happen. If your child wants a tattoo, it can be a good recommendation that they choose a location that is easily covered up with sleeves. Neck, face, and offensive tattoos are often red flags to employers, especially in sales and customer service roles. Even if the employer likes tattoos, they may have concerns over how customers will react. Urge your child to keep tattoos easily hidden under work clothes and/or keep them tasteful. After all, if your tattoo is intended as a form of self expression, a visible one should be one you are comfortable expressing to the world.

Will Other Parents Judge Me?

Every parent wants to look good to other parents. Will other parents judge me if I let my son or daughter get a tattoo? Will they judge me if I don’t? The truth is, no matter what decision you make, there will be scrutiny. Opinions will vary from parent to parent. There is no one correct philosophy to parenting, all that matters is that you find what works for you and your child. When it comes to deciding whether to let your child get a tattoo, what matters most is what you and your child are comfortable with.

What Age Can You Get A Tattoo Without Parental Consent?

In Toronto & Vancouver, you can’t actually stop your kid from getting a tattoo. While many reputable Toronto & Vancouver tattoo shops require parental consent from people under 16, it is not a legal requirement. If your kid really wants a tattoo, they can get it. You can express your preference to your child over whether they get a tattoo, but the decision is theirs. If you think your child may get a tattoo regardless of your wishes, it can be better to give consent. One option is to tell your child that you don’t want them to get a tattoo, but that if they are going to get one you would rather be have them tell you first than do it behind your back. If they are going to get a tattoo regardless, you want to make sure they go to one of the best tattoo shops in Toronto & Vancouver. This will ensure safety practices, and avoid a poorly done tattoo that they could end up regretting down the line.

How To Talk To Your Child About Tattoo Safety

No matter their age, your child’s safety and health are your top priorities. If your child expresses interest in tattoos, it’s important to talk to them about tattoo safety. Yes, tattoos are safe - provided the right precautions are taken. Below, we discuss how to ensure the first tattoo is a safe experience.

The Risks Associated With Tattoos

Although tattoos are safe, they are not inherently safe. The best tattoo shops in Toronto & Vancouver follow strict sanitary procedures, and the artists are carefully trained. Let’s take a look at some of the possible risks, and how to avoid them.


There is always concern with needles, as used needles carry a possibility to spread disease. Most tattoo equipment - and all needles - are intended as single use products. Make sure the artist opens sealed sterile packages for anything that touches your child’s skin. This includes needles, clamps, and tubes. Opening sealed packages in front of the customer is an important aspect of best safety practices for tattoos. If the equipment is already in the open when you sit down, request your artist open fresh packages.


There is always a risk of infection with tattoos. Even if the tattoo shop and artists do everything right. The bulk of infection prevention falls to the person receiving the tattoo. It is important you follow proper tattoo aftercare procedure. Sometimes parents aren’t sure if their teens are ready for the responsibility of aftercare. A good test is to have them follow aftercare procedures every day for a few weeks. It gets them in the habit and gives you the peace of mind that they can take care of their tattoo.

tattoo inkTattoo Ink

There has been some concern over whether tattoo ink is safe. Overall, this seems to be fear-mongering from the media. Earlier in the 1900s heavy metals were commonly found in inks. Awareness of the effects of heavy metals in the body lead to a reduction in their use. Although there is no evidence that the presence of these metals has had adverse effects on anyone, recent decades have seen much more focus on what goes into tattoo ink. That being said, tattoo ink is still unregulated in most countries. So it’s worth taking some precautions. Your best bet is to go to an established tattoo shop that buys their equipments and ink from reputable dealers.

Picking The Right Tattoo Shop

If your child is going to get a tattoo, picking the best tattoo shop is paramount. It is the best way to ensure safety. As well, the quality of the tattoo will be better - this reduces the likelihood of your child regretting their tattoo. There are a few things to look out for when picking a tattoo parlour near you.

Tattoo Cost

It’s okay to shop around a little. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a tattoo. But be wary of an extreme discount. If you come across a tattoo parlour with exceptionally low prices, it’s worth considering where those savings are coming from. Are the artists less trained? Are the equipment and environment up to code?


An award-winning tattoo shop is worth looking out for. There may be a longer waiting period for a large tattoo from an award-winning tattoo artists, but it’s worth the wait. You can expect higher safety standards and better quality tattoos. If you are looking for a smaller tattoo, you can usually get a walk-in tattoo. That certainly reduces the wait.

Tattoo Shop Sanitation

The first thing to take a look at when you go into a tattoo shop is how clean it is. The cleanliness of the reception area is indicative of how much sanitation is prioritized. As well, when you sit down at a station, everything should be freshly wrapped. Your bare skin shouldn’t be touching anything that a previous customers has.


In the end, even if you decide you don’t want your child to get a tattoo, they are able to go to find a shop that will give them one. The most important things you can do are to let your child know your preferences, and to make them aware of the risks and safety precautions.
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