What is the proper ear cleaning method for kids? The obvious answer for many is to use cotton swabs, either because that’s the only way they know or it does somehow clean your ears. Cotton swabs truly are very much common in many family households. They’re handy and convenient for a variety of grooming needs, but often are used to remove earwax which, as you will know later on, is actually a potentially hazardous practice.
Why should you not remove the earwax then? Some people have more earwax than others, in general though, the ear makes just as much wax as it needs and no manual removal is needed as it will just fall off eventually. In some rare cases however, kids’ ears will produce excessive earwax which may be foul swelling and just plain gross. If it interferes with hearing or causes pain or discomfort, it needs to be removed. But only a medical professional can determine whether earwax should be removed.
Always remember – you shouldn’t attempt to remove earwax at home, even with remedies that promise to be safe and effective. Doing so risks damage to the ear canal and, possibly, a child’s hearing. Instead, you can follow these tips:
- Your child’s ears should be cleaned regularly and the safest way to do this is to use a soft washcloth around the outside of the ear.
- Again, do not use a cotton swab, a finger, or anything else to poke inside the ear because of the risk of injury or pushing the wax in even further, which could then cause infection later on.
- If you think your child has a build-up of hardened earwax, you can soften it with two to four drops of olive oil or mineral oil. Have your child lie down with the affected ear facing up and leave the oil in the ear for a few minutes then drain. This will not remove the earwax but will soften it enough for removal to be possible.
- However, if your child starts showing signs of ear pain, discomfort, hearing problems, go see a pediatrician first who may then refer you to an ENT doctor.
- Many over-the-counter treatments are sold for earwax removal, but don’t use them without talking to your physician first.
As emphasized over and over again, “nothing smaller than your elbow” should be put in your child’s ear. Putting anything into the ear canal will only pack dirt in further. Also, note that these tips ring true mostly for kids but adults are also encouraged not to poke things inside their ears.