How to Get Sand Out of a Child's Eye

Written by kimberley jace
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It's easy for your child to get a speck of sand in her eye during a trip to the beach or playtime in the sandbox. The hardest part might be persuading her not to rub the eye that hurts until you can come to the rescue. Quick action can remove the speck and return the child to playtime.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bottled water
  • Water fountain or sink
  • Clean tissues
  • Flashlight

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  1. 1

    Put the child on your lap. Gently grasp the upper eyelashes on the affected eye and pull the lid slightly forward, away from the eye. If the child is crying, just pulling the eyelid out of the way may allow the tears to flush out the speck.

  2. 2

    Open the affected eye, using the fingertips of both hands. Take a sip of water to cleanse your mouth, then use the tip of your tongue to gently lick the affected eye, from inner to outer corner, to dislodge the speck. The tongue surface is soft and wet enough to come into contact with the surface of the eye without irritating it.

  3. 3

    Place the child on your lap, face up. Place an open, clean bottle of water against the inside corner of the eye; drizzle water from the water bottle into the eye while encouraging the child to blink. Hold clean tissues against the outer corner of the eye to catch the water.

  4. 4

    Take child to a water fountain or rest room sink. Wash your hands, then cup one hand under the running water and encourage child to rest the affected eye in your palm and blink rapidly, allowing water to wash over the eye.

  5. 5

    Use a flashlight to inspect the eye. If you can see the speck, try again to flush it away with water. If you can see the speck and it will not move, the speck might be a sliver of glass. Take the child to an emergency room.

Tips and warnings

  • An irritated eye might feel as if the speck is still there long after it's gone. If you've flushed out the eye, give it an hour to rest before deciding if the speck is still there.
  • Teach your child, as soon as he is old enough, to perform the above manoeuvres and warn him to never rub his eye if there's a speck in it. Rubbing can drive a speck into the eye surface and do serious damage.
  • A cool washcloth can soothe an irritated eye.
  • Don't let the child rub the eye.
  • Don't attempt to use a tissue, washcloth, or anything else to wipe out the eye.
  • Don't use commercial eye drops or any liquid besides plain water to flush the eye.
  • Don't hesitate to get the child emergency care if home care doesn't solve the problem quickly. Eyes are too important to risk.

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