Baby Hints & Tips

How to give your child eye drops

Pharmacist’s advice on how to give your child eye drops

  1. If eye drops are in the fridge, remove for a few minutes to warm up by rolling between your hands – this will reduce the sting
  2. Wash hands first
  3. Place a finger with light pressure between the bridge of the nose and eye to stop the drops running into the nasal cavity
  4. Tilt your child’s head back or get them to lie down. 
  5. Ask your child to close their eye and place one drop in the corner of their eye, alongside their nose, without the dropper touching the eye
  6. Child can now open eyes and drops will roll in. Blinking a few times will help.
  7. If any of the medication runs on to your child’s face, wipe it away with a clean tissue.   
  8. Have a cuddle
  9. Wash your hands
  10. Check storage of eye drops. Only some eye drops are kept in the fridge.  
  11. Keep out of reach of children
  12. Check expiry.  Most eye drops should be disposed of 1 month after opening.  

Note: you should not share eye drops between children

How to give your child eye drops Community tips for putting eye drops into a child’s eye:

Eye ointment is easier for children

  • Had the same problem with my 3 year old. Buy the chlormycetin eye ointment instead. You do not need a prescription. Great tip from a doctor was put the ointment on while they are sleeping and it works so much better because it soaks in and they don’t wipe it off! No battling with drops then. Tracy
  • No tips for the drops, unfortunately. Ask your doctor/pharmacist if you can swap for the ointment instead. Much easier! Mark

Put eye drops in when your child is asleep or their eyes are closed

  • I was told by the doctor just to put the drops in the corner of the eye, it’s fine if their eyes are shut they’ll blink it there when they open their eyes. That worked for my son his eyes were clear in no time. Renee
  • I always did eye drops when my daughter is asleep. Jackie
  • Put the drops in the corner of his eyes while they are closed. When he opens them they go in. That’s how my grandma used to put her own eye drops in and I have done it since she told me. Easiest way! Catie
  • My doctor told me it’s ok if they shut their eyes, just put it in the corner of their eye and when they open they’ll blink it into their eye. Alison
  • My son just had eye surgery and needs drops 4 x a day. I was terrified but the nurse told us to wrap his arms by his side with a towel or light blanket to stop him from flailing and we just talk calmly then put drop in corner of his closed eye. We then gently talk about opening eyes and blinking till he does. A week in and he takes them like an angel. Afterwards we always have a cuddle and a little treat like a biscuit or a lolly as well. He is 3.5 yrs but has a lot of sensory issues especially about his head being touched. I hope your little one can relax and take the drops well. Kirri-lee
  • If you drop it on the eyelid when they open their eyes it goes in anyway. Danielle
  • My eldest needed a lot of drops when she was 2. Dr recommended this technique for us. Lay him down on his back. Try to drop a couple of eye drops on the eye even if lid is shut so that it pools in corner. Even if eye is closed it will still get into eye as he blinks.

Eye drops not always needed

  • My DD has just had conjunctivitis and the doctor didn’t give her anything. I was told to use a cotton ball with warm water. It’s all cleared up now in less than a week. Holly
  • My 2 year old had it and we ended up with the ointment so much easier but then my 5 month old got it and the doctor told me warm water and cotton ball one per wipe works just as good and my bubs cleared up quicker than my older boy. Krista
  • Put chamomile the tea bag in water when it warm and on his eye clean it 3 times a day with the tea bag it will go in day or 2 🙂 good luck. P.S. It has to be pure chamomile though. Irma

Practice on yourself with saline

  • If you are going to use drops I would recommend getting some saline drops from the chemist and practicing on yourself first until you can do it really quickly. I’ve got contact lenses so found that when my son needed drops I could get them in very fast but my husband was bloody hopeless.

Position your child’s body on yours when giving eye drops

  • I used to put my little ones head in my lap so it was tilting back a little. Hold something behind a little to open the eyes like a phone or toy then put the drops in fast. Let him watch my phone for a bit then give him a treat that he only got after he had his eye drops. Bianca
  • My daughter needed eye drops for conjunctivitis once as well. The doctor showed me how to lay her on the floor with her head between my thighs and arms under my knees. Put your ankles over the bottom of their legs. You then have 2 hands free and only takes a couple of seconds.

Wrap arms

  • Wrap bub in towel/sheet/blanket to keep arms down.

Let them pretend to put eye drops in your eyes or use a toy

  • Let them “pretend” on you first. Worked for eye drops, ear drops and nail clippers for my gal. Jane
  • I used to pretend to put it in his teddy’s eyes first. Or my own. That seemed to help. But I had to do it each time. It’s not always pleasant but as long as you know it’s going to help them it makes it easier. Good luck. Diana

Drink for after the eye drop are in

  • Give a yummy drink straight after. Most eye drops are bitter & you can taste it after down your throat (it is all connected) . I speak from experience, the drops I was on my me gag every time. .. yuck!! Sharyn

Share your tips for how to give your child eye drops below


Tanya Burgess

About the Author:

Tanya Burgess is a registered pharmacist and mother of 3 girls living in Western Australia. When she’s not wrangling her tribe or talking healthcare you’ll find her online at Baby Hints and Tips. This non-judgemental community is a hub for advice on all things pregnancy, baby, kids and parenting. Enjoy the support and fun at

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