Water Safety Essentials for Kids

Avoid Swimmer's Ear

Unlike regular ear infections, which affect the middle ear, swimmer's ear is a painful infection in the outer ear canal -- where bacteria can multiply when moisture lingers after swimming.

What to do: Call the doctor if there's drainage from your child's ear, his outer ear is painful or swollen, or it hurts when he touches the lobe or tab in front of his ear. The doctor will probably prescribe antibiotic ear drops and have you keep the ear canal dry for three to seven days.

Prevent it: If your child is prone to swimmer's ear, turn his head from side to side to help drain the water out. Place a few drops of a solution made from equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar. "The vinegar creates an acid pH that helps kill bacteria in your child's ear, and the alcohol helps water left in the ear canal to evaporate," says Dr. Smith.

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