Skip to Content

Menu Icon
Menu
Menu Icon

Caring for a Baby's Nails

Topic Overview

Babies' nails can be different lengths at birth and grow at different rates. As you bathe your baby, check the length of his or her nails. Trim the nails if they extend beyond his or her fingertips, to prevent scratching.

A baby's nails can be clipped or cut. Clip your baby's nails after his or her bath when they are softer. You may need someone to help you hold your baby. Your baby's nails can be clipped when he or she is asleep. Use the same precautions. General guidelines for nail care include the following:

  • Use a small clipper or scissor with a rounded cutting surface, specially designed for babies. Do not use adult nail clippers.
  • Work in an area with good lighting.
  • Place your baby on a padded, flat surface or lay your baby across your lap.
  • Hold and support your baby's hand or foot with one hand, securing the finger or toe of the nail about to be cut.
  • Place the blade of the clippers or scissors carefully under your baby's fingernail or toenail. Before applying pressure on the clipper or scissors to cut the nail, pull down on your baby's finger or toe pad to be sure that you will not accidentally cut the skin.
  • Cut the toenails straight across to prevent ingrown nails.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised October 7, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.