Correcting information, hopefully without changing the original idea too much
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Shauna
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The reason behind the "keep water out of the ear" thing stems from the fact that an infant's ear canal is angled differently than an adult's (or even an older child's). In an infant, it's commonly believed the angle is such that it is more prone to collecting water, which can then sit, stagnate, and eventually lead to ear infections. As @anongoodnurse details, this isn't quite correct (though arguably is the source of the belief), as this cause of most childhood ear infections requires the fluid to be on the inside part of the ear, not outer, where bath water collects.

Some children are so prone to ear infections due to this that they have to have tubes put in (generally, more than 4 ear infections in 6 months warrants a trip to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist) to help the waterfluid drain out of the middle section of the ear. If you've ever had an ear infection, you probably know why recurring ear infections are bad in young children, aside from the fact that they just plain suck - it makes it difficult to hear, and for young children, it can slow language development, which can cause long-term issues. This is the other half of that concern -- ear infections can cause language delay, stagnant fluid build-up in the ear can lead to infection, so getting water in the ear must be the cause of ear infections and must be avoided. The flaw in this logic, though, is that the fluid that causes ear infections isn't the water that gets in the ears via ears (but rather, the water that gets in from the sinuses).

So yes, it's a good idea to avoid getting water in an infant's ears. However, life happens, it's really not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be, and there are a number of ways to help drain or dry the water if it is causing an issue. Rory's answer has some good tips on that.

The reason behind the "keep water out of the ear" thing stems from the fact that an infant's ear canal is angled differently than an adult's (or even an older child's). In an infant, the angle is such that it is more prone to collecting water, which can then sit, stagnate, and eventually lead to ear infections.

Some children are so prone to ear infections due to this that they have to have tubes put in (generally, more than 4 ear infections in 6 months warrants a trip to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist) to help the water drain out. If you've ever had an ear infection, you probably know why recurring ear infections are bad in young children, aside from the fact that they just plain suck - it makes it difficult to hear, and for young children, it can slow language development, which can cause long-term issues.

So yes, it's a good idea to avoid getting water in an infant's ears. However, life happens and there are a number of ways to help drain or dry the water. Rory's answer has some good tips on that.

The reason behind the "keep water out of the ear" thing stems from the fact that an infant's ear canal is angled differently than an adult's (or even an older child's). In an infant, it's commonly believed the angle is such that it is more prone to collecting water, which can then sit, stagnate, and eventually lead to ear infections. As @anongoodnurse details, this isn't quite correct (though arguably is the source of the belief), as this cause of most childhood ear infections requires the fluid to be on the inside part of the ear, not outer, where bath water collects.

Some children are so prone to ear infections that they have to have tubes put in (generally, more than 4 ear infections in 6 months warrants a trip to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist) to help the fluid drain out of the middle section of the ear. If you've ever had an ear infection, you probably know why recurring ear infections are bad in young children, aside from the fact that they just plain suck - it makes it difficult to hear, and for young children, it can slow language development, which can cause long-term issues. This is the other half of that concern -- ear infections can cause language delay, stagnant fluid build-up in the ear can lead to infection, so getting water in the ear must be the cause of ear infections and must be avoided. The flaw in this logic, though, is that the fluid that causes ear infections isn't the water that gets in the ears via ears (but rather, the water that gets in from the sinuses).

So yes, it's a good idea to avoid getting water in an infant's ears. However, life happens, it's really not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be, and there are a number of ways to help drain or dry the water if it is causing an issue. Rory's answer has some good tips on that.

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Shauna
  • 2.7k
  • 12
  • 17

The reason behind the "keep water out of the ear" thing stems from the fact that an infant's ear canal is angled differently than an adult's (or even an older child's). In an infant, the angle is such that it is more prone to collecting water, which can then sit, stagnate, and eventually lead to ear infections.

Some children are so prone to ear infections due to this that they have to have tubes put in (generally, more than 4 ear infections in 6 months warrants a trip to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist) to help the water drain out. If you've ever had an ear infection, you probably know why recurring ear infections are bad in young children, aside from the fact that they just plain suck - it makes it difficult to hear, and for young children, it can slow language development, which can cause long-term issues.

So yes, it's a good idea to avoid getting water in an infant's ears. However, life happens and there are a number of ways to help drain or dry the water. Rory's answer has some good tips on that.