How to properly clean a baby’s ears? Advice from a specialist

The Expert: Dr. Amine Harichane, pediatric ENT surgeon

One of the first concerns of a parent is to take care of their child and their toilet. Especially cleaning the ears can sometimes scare them, for fear of harming their offspring. The advice of Dr. Amine Harichane, pediatric ENT surgeon in Paris, to face it without fear.

How to clean the outer part of the ear: with a cotton swab or saline solution

To clean a child’s ears, you must first distinguish between the two parts: the outer ear, or pavilion, and the inner part, the ear canal. For the external part the use of a cotton swab may be possible. We can use the moment after the bath when the ears are wet to make the task easier. If a toddler is a simple toilet, we can use it Cotton wool moistened with a little saline solution. “We then have to clean what is visible in the pinna”, explains the specialist.

How do you clean the inside of a baby’s ears? Should earwax be removed?

« For the inner ear, the hairs inside are designed to push debris out of the ear.” detail dr Harichane. Forget cotton swabsor any other object to clean the inside of your child’s ear, which only serves to push debris towards the ear canal, and Due to the accumulation, an earwax plug develops. « Some people use scrapers, it’s dangerous because there’s a risk of hurting the child and creating a wound that can become infected over time.”

What is earwax? What are the bristles for?

Sometimes misnamed “earwax”Where from “human wax”Earwax plays an essential role in the ear: it cleans, protects and lubricates the ear canal. “A child’s ears have hair and earwax, that yellowish substance that protects the ear canal. Earwax is used to lubricate the ear and protect it from external influences, such as: bacteria and fungi. It’s not dirty, contrary to popular belief.” explains Dr. Harichane. The bristles have the task of filtering small dirt and dust that could get into the ear canal. In children, it is more of a fine down.

When should baby’s ears be cleaned?

Bath time is ideal for cleaning baby’s ears. « Just soap his ears in the shower like the rest of the body and rinse without tilting your head to introduce water into the ear. Dry the ears with a towel, for the outside. The water inside is attracted by capillarity, And that’s it “, says the specialist. If there is pain, do not put anything in the ear, neither olive oil nor other liquids, otherwise there is a risk of secondary infection.

Cérulyse, Stérimar, Audispray… Are ear sprays recommended for babies? At what age ?

according to dr Ear sprays are not helpful for Harichane. « Besides being expensive, they are not reimbursed by Social Security, Evidence that they have no real use for infants. On the contrary, they can even pack the earwax and make evacuation difficultultimately”. In the case of an earplug, the pediatrician can help in their office to remove the earwax from the baby’s ear. He will also do it to get a better view of the eardrums during a consultation. “In more than two thirds of the cases we succeed, in the rest of the time we intervene”, explains children’s ENT.

When is the presence of an earplug to be suspected?

Children up to 18 months often play with their ears, this is normal. In addition, if he touches his ear or scratches it repeatedly, it is better to consult. With a plug, the diagnosis is made when the child has unilateral ear pain after showering or bathing. « In this case, it may be a cork that has gotten wet. and which swelled and caused pain,” Details the specialist. It is then necessary to consult so that the pediatrician removes it.

If your child has an earplug, do not touch their ear yourself, there is a risk of injury. You need to take him to a doctor or pediatrician to have him remove the cork. « Operation is easy it is done in the office. A jet of pressurized water, powered by a pear, is enough to empty the cork, which is collected in a container. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to gently insert it into the ear and suck up the plug. Sometimes pediatricians or ENT doctors use a small curette to scrape out and remove the earwax. The child has to lie very still, the operation only takes a few minutes.” summarizes Dr. Harichane together.

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