Parents need to beware cotton swabs. Although many use them to clean their children’s ears as well as their own, a new study shows that they can cause significant injuries.
Cotton Swabs Lead to ER Trips:
About 12,500 children are treated in emergency departments annually for problems caused by cotton tip applicators. Often the effect of trying to clean the ears is simply to push the wax down into the ear canal. Using them in the ears can also cause injuries, including perforated eardrums.
Most of the problems occurred when children were trying to clean their own ears. The senior author emphasizes that cotton swabs should never be used to clean anyone’s ears and they should definitely be kept out of children’s reach.
What Can You Use Instead?
The investigators point out that ears clean themselves naturally. If that is not enough, they recommend gentle irrigation. Parents should ask the pediatrician to demonstrate the proper technique.