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Rule number one: No cotton swabs in the ear. In fact, never insert anything into your baby's ear canal -- it can damage the eardrum. To keep baby's ears clean, wipe them daily with a warm washcloth. We usually recommend that parents not mess with earwax at all -- it won't bother your baby, it doesn't cause ear infections, and it won't affect his hearing. Earwax is a completely normal substance that helps keep germs and foreign bodies out of the inner ear. Plus, the wax eventually falls out, whether you see it or not. --Jennifer L.W. Fink
Originally published in Parents magazine, January 2008. Updated 2009
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.