We all know it hurts to get an eyelash in our own eyes, so of course we want to help when we see hair in baby’s eye. Fortunately, you can typically remove any hair from your baby’s eye at home.
To safely remove hair from Baby’s eye, use clean hands to gently separate the lids with your fingers and attempt to wipe the hair away with a damp Q-tip or clean, damp washcloth. Alternatively, you can flush the hair out with lukewarm water or artificial tears. Most hairs will flush out of the eye naturally with your baby’s own tears.
If gentle attempts at removing the hair or particle didn’t help, you may be tempted to try other ways, but it’s important to be aware of good hygiene and first aid practices when it comes to baby’s eyes. Read on to learn how to safely remove hair from a baby’s eyes.
Signs there’s hair in baby’s eye
If your baby is fussing for no apparent reason, they might be trying to tell you about some sort of pain or discomfort. It’s normal for a baby to get stuff in their eyes, just like adults do! When they have hair or another foreign object in their eye, there are some physical signs you can look for.
Red, watery eyes will be the most common physical clue. In more serious situations, you can see bleeding in the white part of the eye.
What you can’t see is that your baby might be feeling burning, irritation, blurred vision, or maybe even some sensitivity to bright lights.
What to do if there is hair in your baby’s eye
As a parent, you’ve probably spent a lot of time gazing into your baby’s eyes, but what do you do when you’re admiring those baby blues and you notice something stuck in their eye?
The last thing anybody wants is a crying baby in pain or discomfort. If you notice a stray eyelash, hair or other irritants in your baby’s eye, there are safe and effective ways to remove it without causing damage or distress.
While the eye is generally able to rid itself of debris and irritants through tearing and blinking, sometimes you need to give it a little help.
You can either remove a hair in baby’s eye manually or by flushing the eye. You can use these methods regardless of whether you’re dealing with human hair or even cat or dog hair in baby’s eye. Age isn’t an issue either. We’ll go over how to remove hair from eyes of 1 month old baby, or any age for that matter!
Steps to manually remove hair in baby’s eye
If you spot a stray hair or eyelash in your baby’s eye, follow these steps to retrieve it safely:
- Immobilize your baby to reduce the risk of making it worse or accidentally bumping their eye.
- Wash your hands before touching the eye to prevent further irritation or infection
- Use a well-lit area to ensure you can see properly
- Gently separate the eyelids with your fingers (top or bottom lid depending on where the eyelash is stuck)
- Use a damp Q-tip or washcloth to gently dab or wipe the hair away
- You can use lukewarm water or saline solution to flush the eye if attempts at wiping the hair away didn’t work
How to flush a baby’s eye
Flushing your eyes out isn’t really a pleasant feeling, so it’s likely just as uncomfortable or even scary for babies and toddlers. It’s very similar to applying eye drops.When preparing to flush a baby’s or toddler’s eye, be equipped with the following:
- A large amount of lukewarm or cool water in a pitcher or from the faucet (do NOT heat the water)
- Use a small cup with a spout, like a measuring cup, to help control the flow of water
- Use a clean eye dropper for infants and babies
- Saline solution, which can be found at any local pharmacy or online (my go-to brand). This is also a good item to keep in your first aid kit for other situations!)
- A clean towel or washcloth
The proper way to flush a baby’s eyes to help remove small particles like stray hair is to gently lean the affected eye toward a towel to prevent water or solution from dripping onto the baby’s face and into their mouth or nose.
Then, gently stream water or solution using a dropper or small cup with a spout into baby’s eye using your free hand to hold their eye open. You can continue to flush baby’s eye for up to 15 minutes or until the hair is gone.
For older toddlers, you can have them participate and have them tilt their heads over a sink or the tub and, using a small cup with a spout, gently stream water into the affected eye flushing for up to 15 minutes or until the particle is gone.
You may require the assistance of another adult to hold your child’s eye open or to help them hold still while you flush the eye.
How to hold your baby still to get hair out of their eye
Understanding that babies aren’t known for holding still, it may be difficult to retrieve something small, like a stray hair or eyelash, that is stuck in their eye.
If you have a squirmy baby or toddler on your hands, here are some tips to help keep them still while you work on removing the object from their eye:
- Wrap Them Up: for infants and younger babies, swaddle them to prevent them from rubbing their eye or flailing their limbs while you work on removing the hair from their eye.
- It Takes Two: If your baby is older, you may need an extra set of hands to help hold them still while you’re working to remove something from their eye. Ask your partner or another trusted guardian for help.
- Don’t Panic: Remain calm and focused as you try to remove the hair from baby’s eye. If you’re panicking it could cause baby to become frightened or fussier making the situation more difficult.
- Distract Them: Have another adult or older sibling stand behind you with a toy or something else to catch your baby’s attention. If you’re alone, try shining a lamp or nightlight on the ceiling to make patterns.
What NOT to do when getting hair out of your baby’s eye:
Our eyes are a sensitive part of the body and require the utmost care. If something is stuck in baby’s eye you may be tempted to try some of the following to remove the offending hair or particle.
However, you should:
- Never use a sharp object, like tweezers, to remove anything from baby’s eye
- Do not rub or press on the eye to help remove a hair from the eye, however, DO try to prevent baby from doing the same
- Do not use unclean hands, cloths, or towels to touch baby’s eye to prevent further infection or irritation
- Do not use heated water to flush the eyes
- Do not delay medical attention if proper attempts to remove a particle from the eye do not work
When to call your doctor when dealing with hair in baby’s eye
While we wouldn’t often call hair in baby’s eye dangerous, but remember that our eyes are fragile and need extra special care. You may require medical assistance if you see troubling signs after removing something from your child’s eye or can’t get hair out of baby eye Call your doctor if:
- You cannot remove the object safely or easily using gentle methods
- If 1-2 hours have passed since removing the object your child is still complaining of pain or showing signs of irritation (rubbing, tearing, streaming eyes)
- If something has been stuck in your child’s eye for more than 2 hours
- The eye is bleeding or oozing sticky fluid
Remember that eye injuries require a trip to the medical doctor, emergency room, or urgent care. Optometrists handle routine eye health issues.
You can tape a small, lightweight cup or bowl over your baby’s eye to keep them from rubbing it while driving to the doctor or waiting to be seen.
What to do when your baby keeps rubbing their eye
It’s likely that if your baby has something stuck in their eye that they are rubbing their eye as a response to the irritant. This is normal, but you should prevent them from doing this because rubbing the eye while something is stuck in it could cause the hair or particle to scratch or irritate the eye causing further irritation and risk of infections.
If you find it difficult to stop baby from rubbing their eye so you can get a good look at what’s bothering them, try a swaddle or wrapping them in a blanket to better control their arms.
If your child is older and you’re having trouble getting them to stop rubbing their eye, you can try taping a plastic cup over the eye to keep pressure off the eye and hands off of it until you can get a closer look at why they’re rubbing.
Is there any way to help keep hair out of your baby’s eye?
Prevention could be your best friend if you often deal with a hair in baby’s eye. There are some steps you can take to help:
- Get your kiddo a haircut if it’s their own hair getting in their eyes
- If you have pets, vacuum often including furniture, and keep your pet well-groomed to avoid excess shedding
- Keeping the home clean can help reduce hair and other debris on surfaces your baby spends time on, like the floor
- Keep bedding clean by washing it often
- Wiping baby’s face including their eyes daily can help remove any loose or stray hairs as well
- If a parent or caregiver has long hair, keep it secured when around the baby. Similarly, tie or pin back the baby’s hair if it’s getting long.
It’s quite common for babies, and adults, to get the occasional eyelash or stray hair stuck in our eyes. Remember that our eyes can rid themselves of debris like hair or small particles through blinking and tearing.
It’s a pesky problem, but generally, nothing to worry about and can be easily and safely remedied.