Last week's blog post “The Trouble with Tattoos ” generated plenty of comments – including some important points about tattoo safety. Laws in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey forbid tattooists from inking kids younger than age 18 without a parent or guardian’s approval. But the rise in home tattoo artists, called “scratchers” or “kitchen magicians”, who work outside salons and may not follow accepted safety standards, mean parents who OK tattoos will also want to help their teens find a safe shop.
This seems to be especially true in Pennsylvania, which doesn’t have statewide laws on the books regulating training and safety standards for tattooists and their establishments. New Jersey and Delaware do – and so do Philadelphia and Lancaster City. But well-run Pennsylvania shops make sure customers know that their artists are well-trained and take an 8-hour “blood borne pathogens” course that meets or exceeds standards set by The National Safety Council and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – and that the studio follows the same sterilization and safety procedures required in states and cities with tattoo health rules.
That’s important. According to the CDC, the hepatitis C virus is not spread through licensed, commercial tattoo parlors – but it is through unregulated artists and shops.
More and more teens and their parents are saying yes to tattoos. According to one internet poll, 15 percent of moms say they'd permit their teenager to get a tattoo and another 30 percent were open to the idea. If that’s you, don’t just say yes. Help your child find a safe shop.