Sound Advice for Children's Ears

"Mommy, there is something stuck in there."

Those little openings on the sides of your child's head can be pretty tempting hiding places, which is why he might end up with a foreign object lodged in his ear. Here's how to handle common emergencies.

Foods such as peas, beans, and corn kernels are generally too soft and small to puncture the eardrum or cause permanent damage, but call your pediatrician right away if the food doesn't fall out when your child tilts her head to the side.

A crayon will most likely get stuck in the ear canal, which can temporarily muffle hearing or cause a minor infection. Have your doctor remove it—trying to dig the crayon out on your own could force it in deeper.

A watch battery is more serious—moisture in the ear could actually cause a painful current. Get medical help immediately to prevent burns and scars in the ear canal.

If an insect flies or crawls into your child's ear, shine a flashlight into the ear opening. The insect should move toward the light and out. Or put a few drops of baby oil inside—the bug may float out.

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