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Your Baby Week Fourteen

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Updated November 14, 2007

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Week Fourteen Q&A - Preventing Ear Infections
It is usually not a good idea to prop your baby's bottles - a risk factor for ear infections.

In general, it is usually not a good idea to prop your baby's bottles, especially since it can be a risk factor for getting ear infections.

Photo © Amit Erez

Q. My first child had a lot of ear infections and ended up needing tubes. Is there anything I can do to help avoid the same issues with my second child?

Ear infections in kids are a common and frustrating problem for parents.

Fortunately, you can take some steps to help reduce your child's chances of getting a lot of ear infections. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one way to reduce your child's risk of getting an ear infection is to simply reduce how many colds and upper respiratory tract infections he gets. That makes sense since ear infections usually accompany or follow colds. The only way to really reduce your child's risk of getting a cold is to keep him away from other sick kids though, which isn't always practical, especially if your child is in daycare.

Other things that may help decrease the number of ear infections your child has that you likely do have more control over includes:

  • breastfeeding your child for at least six months
  • not propping your baby's bottle when he drinks
  • taking away or reducing how much your baby uses a pacifier once he is six months old
  • not smoking around your child, keeping in mind that even smoking outside your house when your child is not around may increase his risk of ear infections
  • making sure your child gets the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar), which can help to decrease ear infections
  • getting your child a flu shot each year during flu season

The AAP does state that ear infections can run in the family, so it would be a good idea to do as much as you can to reduce your child's risk of ear infections, since your other child had so many and needed ear tubes.



Source:

AAP Clinical Practice Guideline. Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 5 May 2004, pp. 1451-1465.

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