Toddler Eye Drop Methods


Prescription eye drops treat certain conditions such as pink eye in toddlers. Getting the drops into your toddler’s eyes is usually a challenge. Toddlers struggle to sit still and keep their eyes open so the drops can fall in and do their work. Preparation and toddler-friendly methods of applying the eye drops make it possible to get the medicine in place.


Gathering all necessary supplies before you start makes the eye drop process easier for everyone. In addition to the actual eye drops, you’ll need soap and a clean towel. If your toddler isn’t cooperative, grab a blanket to help keep him still. A paper towel or another clean towel helps catch eye drops that get outside the eye. If your toddler’s eyes are messy or crusty, add cotton balls and warm water to the list.


Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap to prevent contaminating the eye drop bottle. Clean hands also prevent additional problems in your child’s eye. Read the instructions on the bottle before you begin. Shake the bottle to mix up the eye drops if instructed to do so. Cold eye drops feel uncomfortable in the eye, so warm the bottle with your hands or in your pocket to make them more comfortable.

Child Positioning

A soft, comfortable spot helps your toddler relax during the process. If she resists the eye drops and you don’t have anyone else to help, try wrapping her in a blanket to keep her still. Another option is to lay her on her back between your legs as you sit on the floor. Her head should be closest to your body. Tuck each of her arms under one of your legs to gently hold them down if she doesn’t cooperate. Use your legs to gently hold her head to keep the drops from running out of her eyes.


Eye drop application works best when the drops aren’t placed directly on the eye. The Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota recommends gently moving down the lower eyelid to create an area for the drops. Another option is to have your toddler close his eyes, which he may naturally do. Squeeze the drops into his eye at the inside corner. The medicine will enter his eye when he opens it.


The eye drop bottle tip should never touch your child’s eye. This causes the bottle to get contaminated and may perpetuate the infection. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota recommends pressing gently on the inner corner of the eye after applying the drops to prevent the medication from entering the throat. Calm your child and sit with her for several minutes to reduce eye rubbing or crying. These behaviors can cause the medication to wash out of her eye.



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