Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections? 4 Facts

why do kids get ear infections

Few moments make parents feel more helpless than a child suffering sleepless nights because of an illness. If your child is crying inconsolably throughout the night, ear infections are one of the most common causes.

It is estimated that 5 out of 6 children will suffer an ear infection before his or her third birthday. Why do kids get ear infections?

The reasons vary but understanding the root cause can help you prepare for the inevitable so you can provide the best care for your little ones. 


Ear infections happen when viruses or bacteria infect the middle ear. Each ear contains a thin Eustachian Tube which is responsible for draining fluid from the ears.

One of the simplest reasons children get ear infections is their age. Having a smaller body than adults means that bacteria build up in the Eustachian Tube has a more severe impact.

According to Mayo Clinic, children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old have the highest risk of ear infection. 


Having a cold or the flu often leads to ear infections. The buildup of mucus in the nose and throat is connected to the ears where viruses or bacteria can spread.

When your child is sick, over long periods of time the chances of having an ear infection are high.  


Growing immune systems don’t fight illnesses like adults. Children get ear infections because their bodies don’t have the strength to keep out bad bacteria and viruses just yet.

Children who get sick often due to a weak immune system will probably also get more ear infections. Parents can take steps toward building a child’s immunity by making sure children get adequate sleep, exercise and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Breastfeeding an infant is also a good way to build a child’s immunity and suffer fewer ear infections. 


Second-hand smoke is an irritant that can lead to ear infections. To keep your child from experiencing ear infections, avoid having them around cigarette smoke.

Bad air quality, in general, can also affect the frequency of ear infections. In highly polluted areas, studies have shown that children are more likely to have an ear infection. 

Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections?

Ear infections are impossible for some parents to escape. Why do kids get ear infections?

The answers range from vague to specific which may or may not apply to your family’s situation. In general, staying away from other sick children and getting the flu vaccine can help your child avoid ear infections because it helps the child avoid getting sick.

Wash your hands often especially when serving your child food to help reduce the spread of germs. There is no solution that works perfectly for every family, but being mindful of the little habits can help make a big difference. 

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