How To Care For Your Toddler's Nails

Cutting a child’s nails can be a nerve-wracking experience for most parents. Convincing your child to get her nails cut can be a daunting experience. So, how do you go about it without hurting her?

By Ashwin Dewan

How To Care For Your Toddler's Nails

Most toddlers are wary of scissors and nail-cutters. Their fear is acceptable because they associate anything that can cut them with feelings of pain and hurt. Whether your child cooperates or not, you must make caring for her nails a routine – not only to give her a well-groomed appearance, but also for the sake of her health.

Long nails are unhygienic as dirt and germs can accumulate in them while playing. They can also lead to scratches for the child and those around her. There is also the possibility that long toenails become ingrown and hurt your toddler.

Common nail problems in toddlers:

  • Ingrown nail: In this condition, the nail curves down and into the skin causing pain and, in some cases, even infection.
  • Hangnail: A loose strip of dead skin hangs from the edge of a fingernail.
  • Nail deformity: Toddlers who bite or pick their nails suffer from this problem. In such cases, the nail is not smooth and does not have a healthy appearance.

In most cases, children, especially toddlers, will try to wriggle free from the situation. So, how do you convince her to get her nails cut? We show you how.

Set an example by leading the way

Show the way by trimming and cutting your nails when she is around. Children are naturally curious and if they see others, especially their parents, doing something, they will try to emulate it. Let your child watch as you use the nail clippers. Sport the right attitude and by the time the process is over, your toddler will be ready to cut her nails.

Avoid clippers or scissors that are too sharp

When choosing a nail clipper or scissors to trim your toddler’s nails, always choose ones that have blunt and rounded edges as they are best suited for a toddler. Avoid choosing scissors with sharp points as they can hurt your toddler.

Trimming nails after a hot bath

It is easy to trim your toddler’s nails after a warm bath because the nails are soft and can be cut quickly. Remember, you should not attempt to trim your toddler’s nails under water. Nails of toddlers tend to become soft when exposed to water for a long time. Attempting to cut nails in such a situation might cause injury to the toddler.

Learn how to trim your baby's nails without hurting her by going through this video.

Don’t rush

Trimming all the finger and toe nails at one go may prove to be a challenge if your child is averse to the idea. Be patient and gently coax him to get the job done.

Pretend play

Play a game that involves your toddler’s fingers and toes. Toddlers love pretend play and if nail trimming can be made into a fun game, it would make the process hassle-free. For instance, you can sing a fun song while trimming each nail and after it is cut, give your toddler a hug.

Check under the nails

Check your toddler’s nails regularly for signs of accumulated dirt. If you spot a fleck of muck, gently use a wooden toothpick or a scrubbing brush to remove it.

Remember to always trim your toddler’s fingernails straight across and slightly rounded at the top. Trimmed nails will prevent your toddler from biting or picking at them.