How to give your child ear drops or spray

This page explains how to give your child ear drops or spray and how to look after these types of medicine.

What to do

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Get your child into any of these positions, with the ear you are treating facing upwards:
    • Tilt your child’s head back and to one side.
    • Lay your child flat on his or her back.
    • Ask someone to hold your child in a safe position as above.
    • Wrap your baby or young child in a light blanket or sheet to keep his or her arms and legs still.
  3. Shake the bottle or spray.
  4. Remove the top of the bottle or spray and throw away the plastic seal.
  5. Gently pull your child’s earlobe backwards to open up the ear canal.
  6. Put the prescribed amount of drops or spray into the ear canal.
  7. Keep your child in this position for a few minutes so the drops or spray can spread inside the ear.
  8. If your child needs drops or spray in the other ear, turn him or her over so that the other ear is facing upwards and repeat the above steps.
  9. Put the top back on the bottle or spray.

Looking after your child’s ear drops or spray

  • Always check the expiry date of the medicine before giving it to your child.
  • Keep the bottle or spray tightly closed in a cool, dark place according to the label.
  • Read the instructions on the label and only use the drops or spray in the affected ear(s).
  • Ear drops or sprays should not be used longer than stated on the label. If you are giving your child ear drops or spray for a certain number of days, write the date you open the bottle on the label so you will know when to throw it away.
  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
If you have any questions about your child’s ear drops, please ask your family doctor (GP) or local community pharmacist.

Compiled by:
The Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
Last review date:
April 2020