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Your Child's Health, Our Priority, Always

Newborn Fingernail Care

Newborn baby fingernail care

Fingernails in newborns grow very quickly, often requiring care up to once a week to prevent scratching injuries. Fortunately, when scratches do occur, they are almost always minor and superficial.

Here are some tips to help prevent excessive or bothersome scratches.


Newborn mittens are used to keep the hands covered and prevent scratches. They can be helpful in the first 1-2 weeks of life while you are getting more comfortable and skilled at trimming or filing the nails.

Your infant will need lots of opportunities to explore with their hands and fingers at this age, which is important for their development.

After 2 weeks of age mittens should be avoided or limited as much as possible.


Filing vs trimming –

Newborn nails are very soft compared to older children and adults. Filing the nails with a clean nail file or emery board is often all that is needed.

Infant nail clippers are also an option when used properly.


How to avoid clipping or injuring the skin on the tip of the finger –

  • The best time to attempt clipping is when the child is sleeping, making them less likely to clench their hands or make sudden movements.
  • When using clippers press down on the tip of the finger firmly to better view and expose the nail. This will help you visualize and ensure the clipper is fully behind the nail, avoiding contact with the fingertip or skin.
  • Use a file or emery board to round off any sharp edges when clipping is completed.


Never bite or peel fingernails as this can introduce infections or cause damage to the nail or surrounding areas.


Call us at 855-576-9745 or book an appointment with one of our pediatricians when your child’s pediatrician is closed!