Edit ModuleShow Tags

Are Cotton Tip Applicators Safe for Kids?


Published:

© iStockphoto.com / TIMSA

You’ve been told using cotton swabs to clean your child’s ears can be dangerous. But you do it anyway—and sometimes your kids use Q-tips to clean their ears themselves, too.

Here’s a good reason to toss those swabs for good: A new study suggests that using cotton tip applicators to clean your ears can damage the eardrum. These injuries can cause dizziness or even irreversible hearing loss.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that about 263,000 children under 18 were treated in US emergency rooms for cotton tip applicator-related ear injuries. That’s about 34 kids every day or 12,500 a year. The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, was based on ER visits from 1990 to 2010.

What should parents do? Clean your child’s ears by washing the external part of the ear with a cloth, advises the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Then put a few drops of mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin or over-the-counter drops in the ear. Talk to your pediatrician if your child’s ear wax is still an issue.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Free Things to Do in NJ in August with Kids

Have fun with the family without taking out your wallet. Check out these free activities around the state.

Best NJ Places to Take Preschoolers in August

Can you believe it’s almost August? But summer fun isn’t over—not by a long shot. We’ve found some perfect things for you to do in NJ this month with your 2-to-5 crew. Don't miss these great picks for places to take your preschoolers.

Time Out: Things to Do Without the Kids in August

Looking for a night out without the kids? Call a babysitter and enjoy these NJ activities this August.

Take the Kids! Can’t-Miss Exhibits in August

Want to keep the kids’ brains working over the summer? Don’t miss these educational (and fun!) exhibitions in and around NJ.

Get to Know the History Behind Shark Week

Our national fear of sharks began 101 years ago, right here in New Jersey.