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The Difference Between Baby and Adult Nail Clippers

by Stacy Zogheib

Cutting a newborn baby’s fingernails might be one of the most unnerving jobs for a new parent. Babies are tiny, and their nails are even tinier. Plus, they wiggle, squirm and fuss at the absolute worst times. Fortunately, baby nail clippers exist to make this job just a little bit easier. These clippers are specifically designed for trimming nails on tiny fingers and toes.

Size and Guards

Baby nail trimmers are much smaller than nail clippers designed for adult fingers and toes. The handles themselves are large enough for parent hands, but the blade area of the nail clipper is much smaller. This is to help you avoid cutting your infant’s fingers along with his nails. Additionally, some brands of nail clippers have guards at the edges to help keep your baby’s fingers safe from the clipping blades. Most adult clippers lack these blade guards.

Magnifiers and Lights

Some styles of baby nail trimmers have additional features to make trimming easier and safer. Magnifiers on some baby nail trimmers are designed to make it easier to see your baby’s tiny fingers so that you can cut accurately. Some trimmers also have a small light attached. This may make it easier to see your baby’s fingers and to trim his nails if he is sleeping in a dark room. Most adult nail trimmers do not feature magnifiers or lights.

Nail Scissors

Instead of nail clippers, some parents choose to trim baby’s nails with nail scissors (See Reference 1). For some parents, scissors are easier to control than nail clippers. If you choose this route, ensure that the scissors you use are designed for baby’s nails. These scissors should have a rounded tip and be sized for a baby’s tiny fingers. Use them only on your baby’s nails to avoid dulling the blades and to keep them sanitary.

Baby Manicure Tips

Many parents find it easiest to trim their newborn’s nails when he is asleep because babies tend to move less when they are sleeping (See Reference 2). If you are truly worried about cutting your newborn’s nails, you can file them with an emery board instead. For the first few months the nails will be soft enough to file, but as your baby grows you will eventually need to trim his nails. Using your teeth to bite your baby’s nails is not recommended.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

Photo Credits

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