Trimming your little one's nails can be a bit scary, 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
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.
Hold your baby's palm and finger steady with one hand and cut with the other.
You should cut your baby's nails with baby nail scissors, which have rounded tips
for safety, or baby clippers. Many baby nail-care kits also come with nail files or
emery boards, but if you cut your baby's nails short enough and make sure to keep
the nail edges rounded instead of jagged, you may not need to use these.
However, if you're hesitant to try baby nail scissors or clippers and your
baby will stay still long enough to cooperate, you can use an emery board to file
the nails down without the risk of giving your little one any nicks.
If you accidentally draw blood (a common occurrence with fussy, fidgeting babies),
don't worry. Using a sterile gauze pad, gently apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
But don't put a bandage around the tiny cut — babies love to put their fingers
in their mouths and can dislodge the bandage and choke on it.
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.