Many states outlaw all tattoos for those under age 18. Check before you say yes!
Parents hate saying no to their kids. We say no when we have to… when there is an issue of safety or life lessons to teach. But sometimes, we say yes just to make the kids we love happy. Saying yes to a tattoo, though, depending on where you live, can land you in jail. Before you let your teen sway your heart, know the laws in your state. Some states grant permission to minors to get tattoos only if they have written consent from their parents. In other states, however, tattooing any child under the age of 18 is illegal. Period.
Georgia Man Accused of Tattooing Minors
Georgia is one of the states that condemn the tattooing of minors, with or without parental consent. Additionally, parents who ignore the law face child cruelty charges. Police charged one woman with child cruelty after she permitted her 12-year-old son to get a tattoo in remembrance of his deceased brother. She claims she did not know that Georgia forbids tattooing of minors under any circumstances.
In 2010, police charged a couple with child cruelty, reckless conduct and illegal tattooing after they tattooed a small cross on all of their six children, ranging in ages from 10 to 17. In 2011, police charged a man with giving his 3-year-old son a tattoo on his shoulders. He faced a fine of $300 and up to one year of probation.
While some of these parents may seem frivolous, it’s hard to fault a parent for wanting to say yes to their children, especially if they enjoy the tattoo culture. Before you give in, check into your state laws. As of now, it is illegal in the following states to allow a minor to get a tattoo:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Texas (only cover-up tattoos allowed under certain circumstances)
The following states allow tattoos under age 18:
- Alabama – 14 years or older, written consent
- Arizona – Parent present under age 17
- Arkansas – Written consent of a parent who must be present
- Colorado – No limitations
- Delaware – Written permission of a parent (who must be older than 18)
- Hawaii – Written consent of parent
- Idaho – 11 years or older, written consent
- Indiana – Written consent of a parent who must be present
- Kansas – Written consent of a parent who must be present if child is under 14 years old
- Kentucky – Under age 17, parent must consent and be present
- Louisiana – Parent must consent and be present
- Maryland – Written consent from parent, must be kept on file for 3 years
- Michigan – Written consent from parent and proof of guardianship required
- New Jersey – Written consent of a parent who must be present
- North Dakota – Written consent of a parent who must be present
- Ohio – Parental consent required
- Pennsylvania – Parent must consent and be present
- South Dakota – Written consent required
- Vermont – Written consent required
Laws vary widely from state to state. Check with your local attorney general’s office before allowing any minor to have a tattoo!
Jessica Bosari writes about tattoo culture for Houston’s New Look Tattoo Removal.