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Toenail cutting can be an easy or at times challenging task to perform on ourselves, whether our nails are ingrown, tough, or just a difficult shape. But, have you ever tried to cut a baby’s, toddler’s, or pre-schooler’s nails? We assure you those little nails can be a wriggling challenge for new and experienced parents alike.
As podiatrist’s we often have parents calling or making appointments at our clinics for advice on when or how to cut your baby’s nails and what to use. On some occasions we see little ones with small ingrown toenails that might require a little bit of a podiatrist’s TLC!
To help out our parents at home we’ve made a list of our most frequently asked questions and interviewed our VERY OWN Sole Podiatrist MUMS ( Emily, Sarah, Jess and Aleisha) to give us THEIR tried and true answers!
What’s the easiest way to cut my child’s nails?
When they are SLEEPING or really TIRED! Our senior podiatrist Jess has two beautiful little girls and finds this technique the easiest, especially if their nails are extra long and causing small, little scratches.
What should I be using to cut my baby’s/ toddler’s nails?
Our podiatrist Emily, who has a cheeky 18 month old, shares that investing in a good pair of baby nail clippers can make the work much easier. She suggests babies’ clippers with a magnifier to make those small nails easier to see. Emily also suggested using a file to gently smoothen any rough or pointed edges that might be getting stuck to little socks or onesies. Once older and the nails are larger and more firm, then we can look at safe nail scissors or clippers.
How short should I cut them?
Our podiatrist Aleisha who is a busy mum of 3 active boys has found that cutting them too short isn’t ideal. If the nails are too short, you are at a high risk of cutting their soft skin. She advised to check their length on a regular basis and reduce them gently if required. For her wriggling younger 2 boys, Aleisha tries distracting them or cuts her older son’s nails first and hopes that “monkey see monkey do” will win them over!
What should I do if I accidently cut them?
Our podiatrist Emily says “ don’t freak out…. small cuts can happen as their little nail shapes are not as well defined!” She advises to use gauze and to gently apply pressure to the area until the bleeding has fully stopped. Band-Aids are NOT recommended for small babies and toddlers, as they are a choking hazard. Keep an eye on the area over the next few days and if any redness, heat or swelling contact your GP for a review. Emily advised gently pushing the skin away from the nail before cutting to try and reduce small cuts from occurring.
Can babies and toddlers get ingrown toenails?
Our Sole Pod Mums answered YES, babies can get ingrown or red inflamed skin surrounding the sides of the nail on occasion. At times there may not even be an ingrown nail present but instead a small infection (known as paronychia) on the side of the skin. Seeing a podiatrist, (rather than digging around those little delicate toes yourself) can help determine a cause for the red inflamed appearance and help to put a treatment plan in place. This might include a topical antiseptic or prescription of topical antibiotics from your GP.
Sometimes their nail folds over and breaks, what should I do?
Our team of mums suggests that sometimes less can be more and just using a gentle file to smooth over the edges is all that is needed. You can keep an eye on the nails over the next few days, just to check there are no signs of redness or irritation to the skin.
HELP! My pre-schooler knocked their nail and now it’s bruised! What should I do?
Our senior podiatrist Sarah, a mum of 3 cute kiddies, has experienced this before! Provided the child is old enough, “a Band-Aid fixes everything… so that went on which gave me a chance to get a good look at the nail while she calmed down.” Sarah advised to check for any bleeding of the nail bed or skin and to clean and dress with an antiseptic and Band-Aid, reviewing daily until healed. As far as bruised nails, the waiting game is generally what we advised, unless the nail is becoming detached and lifting, then coming down to see your podiatrist is a great place to start!
Hopefully, our team’s advice will have you NAILING your babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers toenail care (pardon the pun), and take the stress out of maintaining your child’s nail care. If you need more nail care tips or even a pep talk before your first toenail cutting adventure, our team is always here to share their experience and knowledge.