There are many steps you can take to help prevent ear problems and injuries.
Breast-feed your baby. Breast-fed babies may have
fewer ear infections.
Avoid exposing children to cigarette smoke.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke have more frequent ear infections. If you
smoke and are unable to stop, smoke outside, away from your
Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle.
not allow your baby to hold his or her own bottle.
When your toddler is using a bottle or sippy cup, have him or her stay seated. This can help prevent injuries that might occur if your child were to fall while walking and holding a bottle or a cup.
Feed babies in
an upright position to prevent milk from getting into the area around the
eustachian tubes. Do not allow infants to fall asleep
with a bottle. (Nursing babies may fall asleep at the
Being in day care increases your child's chance of getting
an ear infection, so:
Choose a day care setting with 6 or fewer
Make sure that day care workers wash their hands before
and after each diaper change.
Have day care workers wash toys
Limit the use of a pacifier after age 6 months to
moments when your child is falling asleep. Babies who use pacifiers after 12 months of age are more likely to get ear infections.
Teach your children to blow their noses
gently. This is a good idea for adults too.
Wash your hands and teach your child to wash his or her hands after blowing.
This helps prevent the spread of germs that can cause
Wash your hands before and after every diaper change and
teach your child to wash his or her hands after using the
When possible, limit your child's contact with other
children who have colds.
Try to keep soap and shampoo out of the
ear canal. Soap and shampoo can cause itching, which can be mistaken for ear
pain if the child is scratching or pulling at his or her ears.
your child has tubes in his or her ears, try to keep water from getting in the
ear when your child takes a bath or a shower or goes swimming. The ear could
get infected if any germs in the water get into the ear. If your doctor says
it's okay, your child may use earplugs. Or your doctor may have other advice
for you. He or she can tell you when the hole in the eardrum has healed and
when it's okay to go back to regular water activities.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine prevents ear
infections caused by this bacteria. Pneumococcal vaccine also prevents some ear
infections in children. For more information, see the
childhood immunization schedule.
insert anything, such as a cotton swab or a bobby pin, into the ear. Gently
cleanse the outside of your child's ear with a warm washcloth.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this