Kids tattooed, pierced despite laws
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Despite the fact that it’s illegal to tattoo or pierce someone under the age of 18 in Colorado, that doesn’t seem to stop determined kids.One day after school, Kimberly Henrie picked up her daughter and there it was, a pierced lip. “She’d gone out during lunch and got it done,” she said.Her 15-year-old daughter had asked for permission for a piercing, but Mom wasn’t about to go along.”I indicated I did not support it,” Henrie said. She refused to sign the waiver giving parental permission for the procedure. “She knew my feelings,” Henrie said. “I feel very strongly that a permanent change for a young person to make to their body, even if it could be taken out, I feel anyone under 18 is not equipped to make that decision.”
As an on-air personality for KMTS Radio, Henrie voiced her displeasure with her daughter’s decision.
Henrie went to the Glenwood Springs shop and confronted the employee who did the piercing. She also contacted the police and pressed charges. “I talked with the owner (who did not do the piercing), and he was very remorseful.”Nevertheless, she’s still concerned that a 15-year-old “can walk down the street and get a piercing.”While it hasn’t been a growing concern for local police, Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson can relate to Henrie’s experience. Wilson said he came home one day to find his son with a pierced ear. He’d had it done at a friend’s house.”It came out quickly. I gave him 10 seconds to get it out or I’d get the pliers,” Wilson laughed.Other parents are equally concerned.In a letter to the editor in the Post Independent, Ed Neuleib of Parachute cautioned parents that “your kids can walk into the tattoo parlor in Rifle and get one without your consent. My children did, and so could yours,” he wrote.Mar Rodriguez, who has a store-front tattoo shop on Enterprise Court off Airport Road in Rifle, said he’s careful about making sure his clients are over 18.”I have everyone fill out a release and check I.D.,” he said.
The release clearly states it is against state law to enter false information. But if someone wants a piercing, they can “go to Wal-Mart and get jewelry and pierce themselves,” he said.He’s seen plenty of kids brought in by their parents, who got tattoos or piercings at the hands of a nonprofessional, asking him to correct the mistakes.”I had a couple of girls from Rifle High School who pierced their lips and came in asking me why their lips were swollen,” he said. He said a lot of people ask to buy needles and ink, but he says “no.”Although the state does not require licenses for tattoo and piercing artists, they are held to state health department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, said Shelley Fishbein, who owns Hole in the Wall Tattoos and Piercing in Glenwood Springs. Both require training in blood-borne diseases carried by needles and proper disposal of waste.She also requires waivers for underage clients and refuses to pierce or tattoo anyone under the age of 16.”We really don’t have problems” with underage children, she said.