How to cut baby and children’s toenails

It just has to be done – and regularly. Taking good care of your baby’s toenails is something parents need to learn from the day baby appears. Hospitals here in Sweden often have boxes of baby nail files in the lifts and on the walls around the maternity wards!

Baby toenails are beautifully thin but fairly fragile, so they need filing to start with to help them grow outwards and not in towards the toes themselves. A baby nail file is all you need.

Toes - Love by Anna

Once they are long enough, there are some things to remember:

  1. The best tool for the job is a set of baby nail clippers. Clippers help you to not cut the nail too short and are much easier to handle than scissors.
  2. Cut toenails straight across to discourage the toenails from in-growing. Don’t cut down the side of the nail.
  3. Leave a tiny trip of nail so that it just covers the end of the toe. Filling or cutting them too short can cause problems.
  4. Check that there are no rough bits that can catch on socks/blankets and rip the nail. A file is best for this.
  5. You can very gently push back the cuticle at the base of the toenail but it isn’t usually necessary.
  6. If you have a wriggly baby, try cutting them while they sleep!
  7. Keep socks and other clothing loose around their feet and toes.

 As those baby toes get bigger, read our guide to measuring little feet for shoes here.