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Mommy Dearest: Can I Clean My Baby's Ears With a Q-Tip?

Mommy Dearest: Can I Clean My Baby's Ears With a Q-Tip?

Mommy Dearest,

I've been noticing a little earwax in my 3-month-old daughter's ears. Is it OK to clean it out with a Q-Tip?

— Wax Woes

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Wax Woes,

I know it's tempting to grab a cotton swab and clean out your lil one's ears, but you should avoid the temptation. Inserting something into a child's (or adult's) ear canal could do more harm than good by easily puncturing the eardrum — even if you're super careful. Plus, according to WebMD, earwax is nature's protection for the ear canal, and there's no reason for you to try to get rid of it, especially since you could end up packing it against her eardrum instead of removing it. To clean the outer part of your baby's ears, just use a washcloth moistened with warm water. If you're still worried about buildup, talk to your daughter's pediatrician.

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


mstrauss mstrauss 8 years
The safety Q-tips aer amazing! My baby is 6 months old now and I have been using them for a while. I also use the Q-tips in his nose when he needs some quick cleaning, so they have lots of uses.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
lol I did mean smaller! whoops thanks beccalu
beccalu beccalu 8 years
hithatsmybike, I think you meant "smaller" than your elbow, but I see what you mean. I've heard the same thing.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
I'm hesitant to go into a rant here, but I think the only people reckless enough to regularly clean their children's ears or their own with a Q-tip are those that don't have any idea how the ear is constructed or the function of earwax. Unless there is some sort of infection or something wrong, ears DO NOT need to be cleaned inside! Just because they make toddler q-tips doesn't mean you should be sticking them into your kid's head. They'll make anything that sells! So long as you're buying, they'll be on the market. I had an anatomy prof a few years ago that told the class "never stick anything larger than your elbow in your ear!" -- it's good advice!
Moms Moms 8 years
For the record, I have always cleaned my kids ears with q-tips too. Those safety swabs work wonders.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
You just can't stick it in their ears. The advice isn't for idiots, it's actually really easy for it to slip if you insert it into the ear canal at all. We do only the visible skin with a damp washcloth corner until they're older.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
I use the safety swabs too.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
Ive been doing it since my daughter was around 6 months, I think. She inheireted her fathers ears, and boy do they get gross if I dont keep on top of it. I dont do it every day though, every few days.
Black-Velveteen Black-Velveteen 8 years
Exactly, Spiderlove. I clean by 19 month old daughter's ears all the time. Just use the special cotton Q-tips designed for babies and toddlers.
Spiderlove Spiderlove 8 years
Meh, I did it with both my kids and they turned out fine. I think "they" have to say that, as I'm sure somewhere there's an idiot who will stick the Q-Tip in too far.... c'mon, though, common sense people!
SnickersBar SnickersBar 8 years
Thanks mom2ross!! That's what I was thinking, but you know as a mom, you can never worry too much! ;)
mom2ross mom2ross 8 years
I do, too - SnickersBar. My son is the same age and I think I've been using the safety cotton swabs for a while now. I only do it after a bath, though. (Every other day.) I'm sure our kids are fine, if you couldn't use those, why would they make them? Right? ;)
SnickersBar SnickersBar 8 years
Omg!! I always clean out my little guys ears with the safety Q- tips! He is 15 months old though ..... I didn't clean them when he was a baby, but I have been for a few months now. They can get pretty gunky if I don't. I never really gave it a second thought. Please tell me I'm not the only one?!
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