A woman from the Austin area has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor after allowing her children to get tattoos. Ashley Weir, 31, permitted her boyfriend’s brother, a registered sex offender, to tattoo her three children, all of whom are younger than 13-years-old.
The Austin Police Department got involved after they were contacted by the children’s father. The father said he noticed the tattoos upon picking up the kids from his ex-wife’s home after school, according to local news outlets.
The tattoos, which include a cross, a heart with an arrow through it, and an infinity symbol, were applied to the children’s ankle. Tattoo artist Kate Hellenbrand told Fox 7 there is a reason there are laws against tattoos for children.
“Well it’s unethical, it’s immoral. It’s everything I can think of that is a travesty against empathy, against caring for a human, a child. I mean yea, it’s everything that’s important to me as an artist in this field,” said Hellenbrand, owner of Shanghai Kate’s Tattoos.
“There’s no cleanliness. He probably had one needle. He didn’t certainly go through hospital style sterilization and single service, which is what we do and any tattoo artist does. You know, that’s the first thing you learn.”
Risk associated with tattooing include infection caused by blood-borne pathogens as a result of dirty needles, allergic reactions to the ink, scarring, and granulomas – small bumps that form when the body reacts to the pigment as a foreign material, according to the U.S Food and Drug Administration.
Tattoos can also be irritated by MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which sometimes causes swelling and burning at the ink site. The FDA is currently undergoing more testing to understand the potential health effects of getting inked.
Dad fights for custody
Police say the 31-year-old mother was intoxicated when she gave consent to have her children tattooed. Weir has a lengthy criminal history, mostly involving alcohol. She has been arrested three times for driving while intoxicated, three times for public intoxication, once for resisting arrest, and once for driving with an invalid license.
Weir is currently being held in the Travis County Correctional Complex and awaiting trial on five charges, two of which include Out of County Misdemeanors. The children’s father is currently fighting for custody.