How should I clean my baby's ears?

Q: How should I clean my baby's ears?

A: A: 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