There have been numerous studies to evaluate the safety of pediatric acupuncture. The most comprehensive study to date is, The Safety of Pediatric Acupuncture: A Systematic Review published in the journal Pediatrics in 2011.

According the authors, pediatric acupuncture is safe when performed by properly trained practitioners.

 

I believe pediatric acupuncture is even safer in the United States and other countries than the study findings due to the rigorous clinical training, safety standards and certifications that modern acupuncturists go through before becoming licensed. 
After reviewing the study I found that these standards were not reflected in the systematic review because much of the data for the review came out of international studies.
The serious adverse events reported were mostly caused by unqualified practitioners in other countries and were due to gross incompetence.

Here are six reasons why acupuncture is extremely safe:

  1. Only single-use sterile disposable needles are used, thus infections from needles Hair-fine Pediatric Acupuncture Needleare extremely rare!
  2. The needles are hair-fine, virtually painless, and are inserted superficially into the skin so there is zero risk of puncturing a lung or other vital organ.
  3. Non-needle tools are often used during treatment and fewer needles are used overall
  4. Fear and crying are extremely rare because the child is never forced to have treatment
  5. In kids under age 8, acupuncture needles are not retained in the body.  The needles are swiftly tapped in and immediately taken out. Children only need to sit still for a few seconds at a time during the treatment.
  6. In kids over age 8, they can generally sit still for 10 – 20 minutes with the needles in, but unlike adults the needles are smaller and inserted superficially minimizing any serious risk to the child.

In my experience the most common adverse reaction is a mild and brief discomfort (about 1 second) during insertion of the needle.

Rarely, mild adverse reactions such as temporary bruising or swelling at the needle site occur but these are uncommon due to the special techniques used in pediatrics.

In the seventeen years I’ve been involved in acupuncture, never has a single pediatric or adult patient caught an infection from needle insertion, nor have I seen or any serious adverse reactions. They do happen, but are extremely rare and very unlikely if the practitioner you choose is licensed and has special training in pediatrics.

 

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