How to give medicines: ear drops

This page describes how to give ear drops to children. Specific information on individual medicines is available on the Medicines Information pages.

This leaflet has been specifically written about how to give ear drops to children. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again. Information on individual medicines is available on the Medicines Information pages.

We have produced a step by step video to help with the administration of ear drops for your child.

Ear drops

Medicines for the ear are available as ear drops.

Before you give ear drops

  • Use the ear drops only in the affected ear, unless your doctor has told you to treat both ears.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after giving the drops.
  • You may need help from another adult to give ear drops to your child. One of you can hold the child still and one can give the drops. You may find it helpful to wrap a small child or baby in a blanket to help keep them still.

How to give ear drops

Ear drops

  • Shake the bottle and remove the cap.
  • Your child needs to have their head tilted to one side. (They could rest their head on a pillow.)
  • Put the tip of the dropper just inside the ear hole. Try to avoid touching the nozzle on to the ear. Gently squeeze the drop(s) into the ear.
  • Your child should keep their head tilted to one side for a minute or so.
  • Wipe the nozzle with a clean tissue after each use.
  • If you think the drops didn’t go into the ear, you can repeat the process but do not try more than twice.
  • Try to avoid the tip of the bottle touching any part of your child’s ear if possible.
  • Wash your hands again with soap and hot water.
  • Repeat the above steps for the other ear if necessary.

Who to contact for more information

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about your child’s medicine.

You can read further information about individual medicines by searching (A-Z) on the Medicines Information pages on this website.