A 33-year-old mother in Highland, New York – Crystal Thomas – was arrested last month after her 10-year-old son received a permanent tattoo of his name on his forearm. The arrest was made by the Town of Lloyd Police on October 4th and announced on their Facebook account on October 11th.
Thomas was charged with “endangering the welfare of a child,” a Class A misdemeanor, and while she was originally released on an appearance ticket, she later appeared in court on October 20. If convicted, she’s facing up to one year in prison and three more years probation for her reckless parenting.
The tattoo was discovered after the boy went to his school nurse and asked for Vaseline to help his body art heal. The shocked nurse immediately reported it to a school resource officer, who then reported it to police officers in the area. Police officers underwent a brief investigation before arresting two people.
According to court documents, Crystal Thomas is labeling the incident a ‘misunderstanding.’ When her son asked her if he could get a tattoo, she was under the impression he meant a temporary tattoo – not a permanent one. If she had known what he meant by tattoo, she would’ve never given him permission.
In a later interview, the mother explained that she ‘supports age restrictions’ for tattoos and that ‘no little child should get tattooed.’ Nonetheless, she gave him permission and he went to a tattoo artist willing to give the 10-year-old boy what he wanted – a 6-8 inch tattoo of his name in block letters on his forearm.
In addition to arresting the mother, police officers arrested the tattoo artist that gave the boy the tattoo. The artist was identified as Austin L. Smith, a 20-year-old unlicensed artist who was under the impression that you could get a tattoo with permission from the parents – unfortunately, that’s not true in New York.
While some states allow minors to get a tattoo if the parents give permission, New York is different – more strict. Even with their parent’s permission, no one under the age of 18 years old is permitted to get such permanent body art. Smith was also charged with ‘endangering the welfare of a child’ and ‘unlawfully dealing with a child.’
Why Should Minors Avoid Getting a Tattoo?
With tattoos becoming more popular in society and culture today, people are becoming more open to the idea of getting one themselves. And while many people agree that 18 is a reasonable age limit for getting a tattoo, many teenagers believe they should be able to get one sooner – some much sooner than others.
In fact, roughly 25% of all students between the ages of 16-18 have asked their parents for permission in order to get a tattoo. Not all of those parents will approve their child’s request, largely due to the health risks and social stigma that comes with tattoos – though the technology is changing general perception.
One of the most common risks when getting tattoos is an infection – as well as other skin issues and allergic reactions. It’s also possible to be diagnosed with bloodborne diseases if the artist isn’t cleaning their tools properly. Getting tattoos can also cause symptoms when undergoing an MRI scan.
According to the New York State Department of Health, it is a ‘violation of Section 260.21 of New York State Penal Law to tattoo minors under the age of 18, regardless of parental consent. Once 18 years old, people are free to get tattooed as they wish – in some states, all you need is parental consent.
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