You probably have them in your medicine cabinet and use them on yourself and your children, but shockingly, dozens of children every day land in emergency rooms because of ear injuries caused by cotton swabs.
An analysis of federal data found that 263,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for these injuries from 1990 to 2010. That’s more than 12,000 injuries a year.
Ear canals are typically self-cleaning. The study’s author says using cotton tip applicators to clean the ear canal can push wax closer to the eardrum and severely injure the ear.
The majority of injuries occurred when children were using cotton swabs by themselves… followed by a parent and then sibling using a cotton swab to clean a child’s ear.
Of those kids taken to the emergency room, a vast majority were treated and released… but some did suffer damage to the ear drum, hearing bones or inner ear, which resulted in dizziness, balance problems and irreversible hearing loss.
If you’re cleaning your child’s ears, use a damp cloth to wipe around the outer ear, not inside the ear canal.