Ear: Pulling at
Why do children pull or poke their ears?
Most young children who are pulling at or poking their ears but have no other symptoms do not have an ear infection. Many of them have an itchy ear canal from getting soap or shampoo in it or from using cotton swabs to clean the ear cana. Some have just discovered their ears and are playing with them (6 months to 2 years old). If the behavior occurs only when your child is sleepy, it may be a self-comforting habit.
How can I take care of my child?
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Call within 24 hours if:
- Your child develops ear pain.
- A discharge from the ear occurs.
- Your child develops a fever or any signs of a cold.
- Pulling at the ear continues more than 3 days.
- You have other concerns or questions.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-06-19
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.