In my practice as a paediatrician over years, I came across number of cases of ear pain in children. Many a times ear-ache is the primary reason why parents get their kids to emergency room at hush of night. And believe me it brings a lot of distress to kid as well as parents. Yet parents have no clue why ear pain happens in a child & how to prevent ear pain in kids.

In this blog post we will reveal those simple changes you can do as a parent, to safe guard your kid against earache. We will state, what precautions you should take while travelling by air with a small kid to avert ear pain.

Additionally we will discuss how to avoid ‘ear infection’ in kids. And what specific vaccines in children prevent ear infection!

Important note

Take into account that ear infection is a common cause of ear pain in children.

1.Breast feeding

Do you know that, something as simple as breast feeding protects a child from numerous infections. Considering that, breast milk is a special food that has immunity enhancing properties.

Breast milk is rich in antibodies, which fight against germs. One such antibody is “IgA antibody”. This prevents not only ear infection but also common cold and diarrhea. So science recommends to give breast milk in preference to formula milk, as it is way superior compared to the later.

2.Correct feeding position

You should never keep your baby flat, in lie down position while feeding. Why is it so ? There is chance of aspiration of milk into airway and chocking. Besides this, it causes ear pain as well.

There is a tube like structure called “eustachian tube” that connects ear with nose cavity, internally. This tube stabilizes pressure inside ear.

Feeding in flat position causes milk to enter inside Eustachian tube and block it. Which creates negative pressure inside ear and hence triggers ear pain.

So what is the correct position of feeding in babies ? The answer to this is, keep the head end of baby propped up at 30 degree whilst feeding.

3. Burping


Followed by each episode of feeding you should burp your baby by keeping it on your shoulder. Continue doing it till 10-15 minutes till gas escapes out of baby’s mouth causing a burp sound.

4. Avoid pacifier

When baby cries excessively, parents put a Pacifier ( artificial nipple ) inside its mouth. This heightens chance of ear infection, especially middle ear infection in a baby. Therefore refrain from using pacifier for your baby.

5. Treat congestion

If you are parent you must be knowing how commonly kids catch cough, cold and running nose. And afterwards they complain of ear pain too, if nasal congestion is significant.

It happens because congestion causes eustachian tube to block. Thus treat congestion due to cough and cold promptly, by using decongestant, nose drop or any add-on medication if required as prescribed by your paediatrician.

Moreover, if we catch running nose and cold we recover faster. But in kids, owing to their low immunity, it may advance to middle ear infection. Thus cold in child needs to be addressed.

6.Steam inhalation/ Warm saline gurgle

Steam inhalation helps in relieving nose congestion and sinusitis ( congestion and inflammation of nose sinuses ). Likewise warm saline gurgle alleviates throat congestion.

These simple home hacks check Eustachian tube blockade. Hereinafter risk of ear pain and ear infection also comes down.

7.Caution while bathing

At times while giving bath to kids, water enters inside ear causing ear pain. Hence ward off against water flowing into ear of a baby while bathing.

8.Remove water in ear

In case water makes its way into ear, tilt the head to that side, so that outer ear-canal faces down.

For instance if water enters right ear, tilt head towards right. Apply pressure over tragus ( a triangular cartilage just in front on ear ) then stretch it. Gently move tragus in to and fro motion, and watch out for water to escape.

9.Keep ear clear of wax

Clean ear-wax from time to time as instructed by your clinician. Don’t let too much wax to build up inside ear.

10.Keep nails trimmed

Injury from nails can provoke infection of outer ear. So keep nails of your kid trimmed and clean.

11.Caution before air travel

Stay away from travelling by flight if child has cough, cold, nose congestion etc.

12. How to avoid ear pain on flight


When flight is taking off or landing, there is an abrupt change in air pressure. Hence this may cause severe ear pain. How to prevent ear pain during flight?

If it is an older child, then allow him/her to chew gum while flight is taking off or landing. And if it is a small baby then give breast feeding across that time. Sucking and swallowing unblocks Eustachian tube of ear, and balance out pressure. That is how it prevents ear pain. 


Never offer chewing gum to smaller kids, as it is a choking hazard.

13. Vaccines

Vaccines prevent serious infection in children. Hence immunise you babies on time. Vaccines for children namely PCV ( for pneumococcus ), Hib ( for Haemophilus influenzae ) and flu vaccines ( for influenza virus ) etc are effective in countering ear infection.


I hope these information help parents out there who are looking for answers to how to prevent ear infection in kids. However follow instructions of your physician whenever child develops ear pain.

Because, cause of ear pain should be evaluated and treated meticulously.


All the information provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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