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How to Keep Babies From Rubbing Their Eyes

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 26, 2017
You often know it's time for a nap when your little one rubs his eyes.

You might notice your baby rubbing her eyes on frequent occasions, especially if she feels tired and fussy. To minimize scratches and other self-injury, it’s helpful to keep your little one from rubbing her eyes. This preventative stage should only last long enough for her to mature and realize that she can hurt herself if she touches her face without care.

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Cover your baby’s hands whenever you think he may rub his eyes. Use special baby mittens or baby shirts with sleeves that fold over the hands to protect against eye rubbing and face scratching, advises the Stanford School of Medicine. You could also just pull your baby’s long-sleeved shirt down over his hands to make it difficult to rub his eyes.

Watch your baby for signs of fatigue and sleepiness. Yawning and rubbing the eyes are common indications that a little one needs to nap, advises the Child Development Institute. When you notice the first signs of sleepiness, put your baby to bed immediately to avoid the fatigue progressing to the point of eye rubbing.

Check your baby’s eyes for signs of irritation, advises Robin Barker, author of “Babylove.” You might see crustiness around the eyes or a bit of dust or fluff in the eyes, which irritates your little one and makes her want to rub her eyes. If you see a foreign object, saturate a cotton ball with cool water and squeeze it gently over your little one’s eye to flush out the object. Wipe away any crustiness with a clean washcloth to clean your baby’s eyes. If irritation continues, seek advice from your physician to minimize the eye rubbing.

Hold your baby’s hands away from his face gently if he wants to rub his eyes. Distract your little one with an engaging toy or music to get his mind off rubbing his eyes.

Things You Will Need

  • Baby mittens
  • Cotton ball
  • Washcloth
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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