Trimming Your Baby's Nails

Trimming Your Baby's Nails

Trimming your little one's nails can be a bit unnerving, especially at first. But keeping nails short is important to your baby's safety. Because they lack muscle control, infants can easily scratch and cut their own delicate skin while happily waving their hands and feet.

It's also important to keep babies' nails trimmed once they start interacting and playing with other kids who could be scratched, especially in childcare settings.

Some parents find it easier to accomplish the nail-trimming task with a partner: one person holding the baby to keep the little one from squirming and the other trimming the nails.

First, find a good position that allows you easy access to your baby's hands. This may mean placing your baby in your lap, sitting with him or her in a rocker, or even waiting until your baby's asleep. Make sure you are in an area with good lighting so that you can see what you're doing.

Then:

Because babies' nails tend to grow quickly from infancy to toddlerhood, they may need to be trimmed as often as once or twice a week. Some newborns need their nails to be trimmed even more often than that during the first few weeks of life.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
Web SiteZero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.
Related Articles
Your Child's Checkup: 3 to 5 Days Find out what this doctor's checkup will involve a few days after your baby is born.
Burping Your Baby Feeding a baby for the first time is an exciting experience for any new parent. Here's a quick guide to one important aspect of feeding - burping.
Laundering Your Baby's Clothes Once a baby arrives, it can seem as if the laundry doubles! Many parents think they need to use baby detergent to clean their baby's clothes, but in most cases, this isn't necessary.
Learning, Play, and Your Newborn Play is the primary way that infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings. And during the first month of life, your baby will learn by interacting with you.
Bonding With Your Baby Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, is completely natural. And it's probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care.
Growth and Your Newborn A baby's growth and development is measured from the moment of birth. How much should your baby weigh?
Feeding Your Newborn How you feed your newborn is the first nutrition decision you will make for your child. Take a closer look at these guidelines for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding so you can make an informed choice.
Sleep and Newborns "Does your baby sleep through the night?" is one of the questions new parents hear the most. And almost always the answer is "No."
Choosing Safe Baby Products Choosing baby products can be confusing, but one consideration must never be compromised: your little one's safety.
A Guide for First-Time Parents If you're a first-time parent, put your fears aside and get the basics in this guide about burping, bathing, bonding, and other baby-care concerns.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter