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  • Writer's pictureMy Family Podiatry

Cutting Your Child’s Toenails

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Toddler Toenail cutting doesn’t have to be difficult!

Fear is the biggest factor holding parents back when attending to their children’s nails; add a wriggly toddler into the mix and it can be quite the daunting task. I am a parent to a two-year-old and despite being a Podiatrist who tends to peoples’ feet daily, there is nothing quite like your child being the patient!

Here are some tips and tricks to safely trim your child’s finger and toenails.

Demonstrate on yourself

Cut your nails in front of your toddler first. This shows them that it is safe and it might pique their interest. In fact, I hide my toenail clippers from my daughter because she likes to take the task into her own hands!


Always complete the task in the same space as this tells your toddler what time it is, and they know how to behave. Make it fun and reward them with stickers. Implement any strategies that will make the process easier for both of you.

Clean your child’s feet first

Bathe the feet in some warm water to soften the nails and clean underneath their nails. This can help to remove dirt, making it easier for you to navigate and avoid nasty infections.

Try when your child sleeps

Try cutting their nails when they are asleep. This is when they are likely the most still and will make the process easier for everyone involved.

Pink clippers being used to cut a baby’s toenails

Correct tools

Quality nail clippers with rounded, blunt edges are best for trimming baby and toddler nails. You should not use the same clippers you use on yourself. Avoid scissors with a sharp point until your child can sit still. Clean the clippers before and after each use.

One example of this is the Safety 1st baby nail clippers with a built in light. It makes it much easier to see what you are doing.

Know when to walk away

If your child is struggling, sometimes it’s worth waiting until they are calm. It might take you a few attempts to get all ten fingers and ten toes trimmed, but slow and steady is usually the safest approach.

Cut their nails straight

Cut your child’s nails straight across rather than cutting down the edges. This can help prevent cutting too far down the sides and risking an ingrown nail. You may find your child’s nails will break on their own from all the crawling and running, give them a gentle file to smooth the edges and prevent them catching.

Call a podiatrist if there is any redness or swelling around the nail

Redness and swelling around the nail edge can be a sign of an ingrown nail. With early treatment, we can often tape the skin away from the nail and allow it to settle quickly and painlessly.

If you are a new parent, there is so much information to already absorb that trimming your little one’s nails can a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!

If you have any concerns about your child’s feet or toes, it might be time to see your Podiatrist. The Podiatrist will discuss treatments to gently relieve pain and provide recommendations to avoid ingrown toenails in the future.

My Family Podiatry are here to help with your child’s nails, click the button below or call the team on 3088 6116 if you have any concerns.

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