Most young children who are pulling at or poking their ears but have no other symptoms do not have an ear infection. Many of them have an itchy ear canal from getting soap or shampoo in it. Others have used cotton swabs to clean the ear canal. In young children this pushes the wax back in and plugs the ear canal. Some have just discovered their ears and are playing with them (6 months to 2 years old). If the behavior occurs only when your child is sleepy, it may be a self-comforting habit.
Mix a solution that is half rubbing alcohol and half white vinegar. Place one to two drops in each ear daily for 3 days. This will usually relieve the itch.
Call within 24 hours if: