Tips for Safe Toenail Care for Kids

Toenail TrimmingSomething that you take for granted—quickly clipping your toenails—can become a real battle with a toddler. After all, you told him not to play with scissors because he’d cut himself and get an owie, and now here you come near his toes with a pair of clippers! Nevertheless, it needs to be done, because long toenails harbor germs and are more likely to become ingrown. So, here are some tips to make toenail care for kids seem less like World War III and more like the pampering you enjoy on your own feet:

  • Start with a foot soak, just like mommy. In fact, maybe you can do it together—each in your own basins, of course. Kids are copycats, so if they see you enjoying the process, they may be less afraid of it themselves.

  • While they are in there, you can brush their toenails—just like they do their teeth. Use a small soft brush to gently clean around the nails and under the tips. Make it fun and give a little tickle while you are at it.

  • Dry off their feet and talk about the five little “piggies” who need their “hair” cut. Use only clippers or nail scissors with blunt edges, so a chance movement won’t injure them, and sing a favorite song or tell a story while you work.

  • Make sure not to cut the nails too short. That is not only healthier for the nails and toes, but also lessens the chance of nicking the skin by getting too close. Trim them straight across, too—not curved—to help prevent ingrown nails.

  • Don’t worry if you can’t get them to sit still for all ten nails. You can always finish the job later. Keep it a happy time; each success will build on the ones before until the process seems commonplace.

If you discover that your child already has an ingrown nail, don’t try to pull it up or cut it off. A warm soak and light massage can help relieve pain, and make sure their shoes or socks are not too tight. Then call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center at (303) 423-2520 and schedule an appointment at our Wheat Ridge, Golden, Evergreen, or Granby, CO, office to treat the nail safely. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for more foot care tips.

Photo credit: ponsulak via

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