How to Use Ear Drops for Kids? Are you doing it right?


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how to administer ear drops to kids

Ear infections and the like can cause a great amount of discomfort in your child. This distress can manifest itself in several ways; your kid might become irritable, fretful, or even straight up start wailing. Therefore, it also results in stress for parents. Doctors usually recommend ear drops for kids who have some kind of a pain in their ears.

As the name suggests, ear drops for kids come in convenient packaging, with a dropper attached to the cap. Their ingredients are mentioned on the bottle just like any other medication. This article offers a lucid guide on the proper usage of ear drops for kids, both inside and outside the ear. But first, let’s explore some basic info on what ear infections actually are;

Some information about ear infections in kids and their causes

Ear infections are quite common in children. Inner ear infections such as middle ear infections affect mainly the children who are between 6 months and 3 years old.


Ear infections are caused by bacteria and viruses. When a child has had a cold for some time, their Eustachian tube swells up. Germs may travel from their throat to the ear and cause an infection.

Usual symptoms/how to tell if your infant has an ear infection

  • Pain in the affected ear
  • Your child may have trouble sleeping
  • Your child may pull at their ears
  • Fever
  • Yellow/brown/white fluid coming out of the ears
  • Your child may have difficulty hearing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and feelings of nausea
  • Fretfulness
  • Irritability
  • Your child may throw unexplained tantrums

How to give ear drops to your child

Whether they are to be put inside the ear or applied to the external area, you need to be careful about various things before giving ear drops to your kids;

  • Prepare your child beforehand. Tell them what you are about to give to them, and how it would help relieve the pain they are experiencing. Make sure you tell them this in an assuring and relaxed manner, as there is no need for them to be alarmed
  • You need to first know the correct amount of drops to give. You can read the directions given on the container, or follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Read the label of the medication
  • Wash your hands properly before performing this task
  • Make sure the medicine is not too cool or warm i.e. it should be body temperature
  • Sit your child down in a way that the affected ear is sticking up i.e. tilt their head to an appropriate angle
  • Should your child find it difficult to keep their head still you can place a pillow beneath their head, or get someone to hold their head
  • Keep their hair out of the way

The following are some instructions to help you give ear drops to your kid:

For inner ear

  • Pull on your child’s ear by the outer rim in order to widen the hole inside so as to insert the solution directly and fully.
  • Use your other hand to hold the ear drop container firmly. You can place your wrist on the child’s cheek.
  • Gradually and steadily squeeze on the bottle/dropper’s handle
  • Keep count of the drops as you pour them
  • Tell your child to keep their head fixed in the same position until all of the drops have slid in
  • You can also use the outer rim to press on the inside to make the drops go inside

For outer ear

  • Find an absorbent cloth, or a cotton swab
  • Pour the prescribed amount of drop onto the piece of cloth of cotton
  • Immediately press the medicated cotton or cloth against the affected outer ear but make sure you do it gently
  • Rub the solution onto the ear and do it delicately so as to not cause any further pain and discomfort
  • Once the scab/wound is adequately washed in the fluid, discard the piece of cloth/cotton
  • Do not let your child run their fingers over the medicated area, for example to scratch it or rub it as it could worsen the wound

You should store ear drops for kids at room temperature. Wash your hands when you are done with the procedure.

If the ear drops have been given inside the child’s ear before sleeping, tell them to sleep with the medicated ear facing up. This way the solution will not slide outside of the ear and will remain where it should be. Though, you can also insert some cotton inside the ear to keep the liquid from leaking, if your child is a fidgety sleeper.

Different types of ear drops for kids and their uses

Antibiotic ear drops

Antibiotic ear drops for kids can be used to treat bacterial ear infections such as middle ear infection (Otitis Media). Doctors are likely to prescribe an antibiotic ear drop for quicker results.

Corticosteroid ear drops

Corticosteroid ear drops for kids are available in two separate forms: oil and solution. These can be used to treat the redness, swelling, and itching that some ear conditions cause. Corticosteroid ear drops are not to be used without a prescription.

Antifungal ear drops

Such ear drops are helpful against fungal ear infections. Otomycosis, among others, is an ear-related condition that is caused by a fungus. Antifungal ear drops for kids can combat similar conditions. Once again, you need a prescription to be able to use antifungal ear drops

Acidic ear drops

Acidic ear drops for kids contain acetic acid which is beneficial in the treatment of outer ear infections like a condition known as “swimmer’s ear”. You must, however, be heedful of a possible allergic reaction to the fluid. Acidic ear drops should only be given to a child after consultation with a doctor.

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