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Caring for a baby’s nails

Tips for safe trimming.

Nothing makes parents coo more than cute, little baby fingers wrapped around their own.

But trimming the tiny nails on the ends of those wiggly fingers can be a hard task. Trimming is important, though—babies with long or jagged nails can easily scratch themselves, usually on the face.

Babies’ nails grow fast and may need to be trimmed up to twice a week. To make trimming time easier, follow these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Trim baby's nails after a bath when they are soft—if your baby will hold still.
  • For active babies, try trimming when they are asleep.
  • Use a soft emery board, baby nail clippers or blunt-nosed toenail scissors.
  • Ask a partner to gently hold the baby’s hand while you trim.
  • Gently press the finger pad down and out of the way as you cut to avoid nipping the skin.
  • If you accidentally draw blood, apply pressure with a sterile gauze pad.
  • Keep nails as smoothly trimmed as possible.

Reviewed 12/4/2023

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