THE BRONX - New research has concluded that ear infections are on the decline.

Physicians say the common childhood illness has declined over the last decade.

Dr. Lisette Robledo, a physician with St. Barnabas Hospital, says early vaccinations have helped to ward off ear infections.

As a regular administer of the vaccines, she says she has seen the number of infections go down.

She says doctors are also taking a wait-and-see approach to care before prescribing antibiotics, so that the bacteria doesn't become resistant to the medication.

Researchers say the chances for a child to develop an ear infection increase when there is smoking in the home.

Doctors also say if someone suspects their child has an ear infection, to first treat them with Tylenol or Motrin and then call a doctor to set up an appointment.