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How to Use Ear Drops in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

How do I put ear drops in my child's ear?

Read the instructions carefully before you use ear drops. Wash your hands before and after you use the drops.

  • Warm the drops by holding the bottle in your hands for a few minutes. Ear drops may make your child dizzy or cause nausea if they are too cold.
  • Gently shake the bottle.
  • Do not touch the tip of the bottle to your child's ear. Germs from your child's ear can spread to the medicine bottle if your child's ear touches the tip.
  • Have your child lie down or tilt his or her head to one side.
  • If your child is younger than 3 years: Gently pull and hold your child's ear down and back.
    How to Instill Ear Drops in Children
  • If your child is older than 3 years: Gently pull and hold your child's ear up and back.
    How to Instill Ear Drops in Older Children
  • Gently squeeze the bottle to drop the correct number of drops into your child's ear.
  • Press on your child's ear flap a few times and keep his or her head tilted for several minutes. This will give the medicine time to reach the correct part of your child's ear. You should see the medicine flow into his or her ear canal.
  • Your child's healthcare provider may tell you to use a cotton ball to keep the medicine in place. Place the cotton ball gently just inside your child's ear. Do not push it into the canal. Use a clean cotton ball each time you use the ear drops.
  • Repeat these steps for the other ear, if needed.
  • Replace the cap on the bottle.

What else do I need to know about ear drops?

Store ear drops at room temperature and away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not use ear drops if they change color or turn cloudy. Do not use them if they have small bits floating in them.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has changes in his or her hearing, such as ringing his or her ears.
  • Your child's ear itches, stings, or burns.
  • Your child has a rash in or around his or her ear.
  • Your child is dizzy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.