Baby fingernails need frequent maintenance to keep them short and safe. If you have always used traditional baby nail clippers then you might be wondering what baby scissors are used for and whether or not you should check them out.
Baby scissors are primarily used for cutting the fingernails of newborns and infants because they are a safer method than nail clippers for avoiding cuts and other injuries. Because infant fingernails and toenails are so soft and flexible, they are easily cut straight across with nail scissors and the parent is able to see exactly where they are cutting with better visibility.
I remember being super skeptical about baby nail scissors when I first saw them. After all, the blades are even bigger than the ones on a regular nail clipper and generally, scissors and babies don’t mix. Let’s see why they make such good alternatives to baby nail clippers and how to get the most out of them!
Using baby scissors can be a great alternative to baby nail clippers
Baby nails grow much faster than adults’. They also tend to grow a little jagged and uneven. If you put these two things together then you have a recipe for fast-growing baby claws that will leave you wondering why you didn’t name your little bundle of joy Wolverine!
The sad thing is that nobody wants to see a little baby that has cut her own face up because of long, jagged fingernails. When babies are first born, they can’t control their arms and legs very well, much less their fingers, and it is common to see them scratch their own skin if parents aren’t paying close attention to their nails.
Baby scissors are a great alternative to baby nail clippers because they allow you to see exactly what you are doing at any given time. This helps parents avoid cutting the nail too close which can cause bleeding and irritation for the baby. Typically, these scissors are also going to have rounded points and overlapping blades that help reduce accidental cuts on the skin and make them safer to have around when not in use.
How to use baby nail scissors
Don’t worry, this will be easier than you think it is.
Rather than setting up with a traditional nail clipper and making one big clip to take off the nail, using baby scissors lets you adjust as you go and lightly trim the nail from one side to the other, stopping if you need to along the way. Here’s the best method:
- Position the scissors on one side of the nail
- Lightly lift up the edge of the nail and scoot the scissors underneath
- Start cutting the nail slowly from one side to the next
- Don’t push the scissors too fast or you might rip the nail!
- Stop if your baby gets fussy or starts moving
Since a video is worth a thousand words, here’s a great example of a licensed pediatrician using baby nail scissors to trim the nails on a newborn:
You will probably have the most success if you try to cut your baby’s nails while he is sleeping or feeding because they will tend to be more relaxed and move their hands less. Don’t be afraid to abort the mission and come back to the nails at another time if it just doesn’t seem like your baby is going to cooperate!
Do you need special baby nail scissors?
You don’t need any particular special kind of nail scissors as long as they are designed and marketed for babies. The best options are going to put safety first while prioritizing comfort and ease of use. Here are the features you are looking for:
- Rounded, blunt scissor blades
- Oversized handle to fit adult hands
- A cover or case for when the scissors are not in use
- High quality so that the scissors will last through more than one baby!
While most brands are going to offer similar performance, my current recommendation is the Simba Baby Safety Scissors. I was surprised at just how cheap they are available on Amazon since I originally picked up mine in a drugstore. These baby scissors are affordable, extremely highly rated, and check all of the boxes that I’m looking for in baby safety scissors.
When can you trim newborn’s nails?
Like I said before, baby nail scissors are really best for cutting the nails of newborn and infant babies because their nails are so soft and flexible.
This means that you can start to trim newborn nails whenever you need to, including the first week of life. Many babies are actually born with longer fingernails from the jump so it’s perfectly fine to start working on them early as long as you are being careful and paying close attention to that tender baby skin!
If you are unsure about the whole process, don’t be afraid to ask the nurses in the hospital about the subject and see if they have any experience doing it themselves. Usually, labor and delivery nurses can offer a wealth of practical experience and tips about taking care of babies and this should be no exception.
In general, you’ll probably need to think about cutting or trimming those nails about once per week. That’s WAY more often than you would ever have to worry about your own nails as an adult (although pregnant women do grow nails pretty dang fast – thanks baby vitamins!), but like I said baby nails are something different!
What if your baby’s nails are still sharp after cutting?
If you still think the nails are a little sharp after cutting them or you just can’t get them shaped the right way with the scissors, don’t be afraid to give them a little filing.
Although it might take a long time to file down baby nails if that’s all you were using to shorten them, a file is a great secondary tool to have to help round off those edges or get the nails a little shorter without having to worry about accidental cuts. There are two main categories of baby nail files to choose from: disposable or glass.
If you want to pick up a pack of disposable (emory board style) files then I highly recommend the NailFrida by FridaBaby (surprisingly cheap on Amazon) because they are affordable and offer a cool S-shaped board that can make filing and rounding off the edges of your baby’s nails easier than the traditional shape.
For those of you that want a more durable, long-lasting option that you can keep around for years, you’ll want to check out the glass options. This particular set from Babygoal (very highly reviewed on Amazon) is also very affordable, made from durable Czech floating glass, and should last much longer. They even come with a little pouch to keep them together and less likely to get lost or broken!
What about traditional baby nail clippers?
Of course, if you are still on the fence about baby nail scissors and want to just use good oldfashioned baby nail clippers there is nothing wrong with that!
In fact, I just talked about why I think baby nail clippers are actually a necessity to have along with a warning about where NOT to get your clippers.
No matter how you decide to trim your baby’s nails, just be sure to do it often and do it safely! If you haven’t already, I recommend picking up the tools you need to get the job done long before your baby is born so you won’t have to run around scrambling to play catch up during the hectic madness that occurs during the first few weeks after delivery!