10 Tricks to Cut Your Baby's Nails

10 Tricks to Cut Your Baby's Nails

Last update: 23 December, 2017

The task of cutting your baby’s nails needs more practice than you might imagine. Parents often put it off for a long time, which is not a good idea. Some also decide to leave this job to someone with more experience or expertise.

A simple task like nail care can be a real challenge when babies are involved, since they are so small and fragile. Infants’ fingers and toes are tiny, and their fingernails and toenails even more so. It is so difficult to see where their nails end and their skin begins that parents are often frightened of hurting their child.

Babies’ delicate bodies make it challenging to take care of them. This is why parents have to be especially careful about feeding, hygiene and clothing. It is important to purchase suitable products, and use them correctly.

Babies’ nails grow just as fast as those of adults. Nail growth may be even more noticeable in babies. We know that cutting them is a struggle, so this article provides ten tricks to make it easier.

10 tricks for cutting your baby’s nails

It is possible to cut your baby’s nails if you follow expert advice. Experts, of course, can be parents as well as pediatricians, as experience comes through practice.

how to cut your baby's nails

There are two basic factors that should be under control: a good view of the nail, and the baby’s movement. Although these are the main reasons why this task can be so difficult, they are also the keys to overcoming the challenge.

The tricks for cutting your baby’s nails are:

  • Take the opportunity to do it while your child is sleeping. This way, you can avoid worrying about them moving. However, you might be worried about waking the baby up; if you decide to cut their nails while they are awake, do it with the help of another person.
  • Use the right tools. Use scissors with rounded edges or clippers designed specially for babies. Not using the correct tools will make this task more difficult and increase the risk of cuts.
  • Make it a habit. Babies should have their nails cut from when they are newborns. Nails grow quickly, and long nails pose the risk of the child scratching their face. There is nothing stopping you from beginning to do it from the first few days of your baby’s life, and putting it off can be harmful.
  • Other techniques. Your baby’s nails are fragile and break easily, so it is a good idea to use an electric or manual file to remove any sharp edges without cutting. This way, you only need to cut their nails when they get very long.
  • It can be helpful to cut your baby’s nails right after a bath, when they are softer. Cut them right down, but without cutting the fleshy part of their fingers.
  • Get a better view. It is common for parents to lift their baby’s fingers or toes and cut the nail from above, but it is difficult to see like this. A better way is to cut the nail from below, pressing lightly on their fingertips to push them back from the nail.
  • Choose the right place to do it. Although it is tempting to leave the baby in their crib, where they feel comfortable, it is important to find somewhere bright and airy for cutting your baby’s nails. This way, you can avoid accidentally cutting them due to poor visibility.
  • Be careful, but don’t be afraid. It is important to cut firmly. Nerves will make you clumsier, which is not good for the health of your little one.
  • Use something to distract them. As your baby grows, their nails become stronger and their skin gets less delicate. At the same time, though, they become more restless, making it even more difficult to cut your baby’s nails. For older children, use something that will hold their attention, so that they are looking at something else and do not move.
  • Clean up after cutting your baby’s nails. Although they look tiny and harmless, nail clippings are a hazard to your baby if they get into their mouth or eyes. For this reason, it is best to clean their hands, clothing and the space around them after you finish.
tips to cutting your baby's nails

We are sure that these tips will encourage parents to get better at this healthy and essential task. With time, parents gain the experience necessary to perform this type of care in a way that is comfortable, safe and suited to their children, using the tools that they have available.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.