When it first came time to cut my baby’s nails, I was shaking like I was 16 years old and about to take my driver’s test.
I knew I had to man up though because my baby was only three days old, but her nails were so long, she had scratched her face pretty badly.
With my baby-sized clippers, I got to work and was worried that with every click I heard that I was cutting down too far.
Thank goodness I had appropriately-sized trimmers because normal adult ones would have been far too big. You’ll need a good pair of baby nail clippers to get the job done. Here’s how to nail this chore properly, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Baby Nail Clipper Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
Why Do I Need Baby Clippers?
Since babies are always touching their faces and have little control of their hands when they’re newborns, get ready for them to get some awful-looking scratches if you don’t stay on top of their nails.
You’ll probably want to cut them about once a week — that was how frequently I cut my children’s nails. If I tried to wait any longer than that, it wouldn’t be long before I felt some serious mom guilt when I noticed a new scratch on their faces.
It may seem unnecessary and even wasteful to have to buy a second pair when you already have a perfectly good one at home. But your baby’s fingers are far smaller than yours. You can’t use such big clippers and expect to have a good result with them.
Even with the proper sized tool, it can be incredibly difficult to cut your baby’s nails without cutting your baby (source). A week after my first go-round with cutting our newborn’s nails, my husband decided our daughter’s nails needed to be clipped again.
So he took the clippers and cut her nails down further than I had that first week. She instantly screamed in pain. Although it didn’t look like he hit skin, blood welled up on her fingertip, and we both felt terrible that she was suffering because he’d overdone it.
If he had been using adult-sized clippers, things would have been much worse. They’re bigger and thicker than the baby version, which makes it harder to tell when you’re about to cut down into the skin.
The Types of Baby Clippers
You have a few options when it comes to the type you choose. There’s the traditional style you likely use for yourself, but there are also nail scissors. You could even opt for a battery-powered unit to file and trim your baby’s nails.
Nail scissors work well when your baby is younger because their nails are so thin. You can cut the edge and peel the nail off like you would tear a piece of paper. You’ll also get better visibility when you use scissors instead of clippers.
The big drawback to nail scissors is that they aren’t a great option as your baby gets older. You can continue to use clippers for years, while nail scissors might give you just a few months of service.
When it comes time to cut their toenails, you might prefer clippers since toenails are thicker than fingernails. Plus, they’ll be a bit older before you cut their toenails since they aren’t a safety concern like their fingernails are.
What to Look For
In this high-tech world, baby clippers have more extras than they did in your mom’s day. Here are some optional features to consider.
- LED light: A light can let you see if you’re about to cut skin. It also lets you cut your baby’s nails in a dark room, which is nice because it’s much easier to cut the nails of a sleeping baby than an angry, squirming one (source).
- Battery power: If you don’t want to do anything except hold your baby’s finger up against a trimmer, you can go for a battery-powered unit to file their nails.
- Magnifying glasses: A small magnifying glass can help you get a better look at what you’re doing, and prevent you from accidentally nicking your baby’s skin. Any tool that cuts down on parental guilt is alright with me.
- Fun designs: Cheerful characters and colors on the handles can lessen your baby’s anxiety about nail trimming as they get older.
- Emery boards: Some trimmers come with emery boards, so you’re able to smooth any jagged edges that clipping leaves behind. That’s a nice touch because sometimes your baby will still find a way to scratch themselves with those jagged edges. You might find it tricky to use an emery board on your baby’s nails in the beginning but if you’re patient you’ll get the hang of it.
- Spy holes: A spy hole is a genius idea because it lets you get a look at what you’re about to cut before the damage has already been done, sparing you a possible accident.
- Curved edges: Curved edges make it a lot easier to avoid cutting something you shouldn’t.
The Best Baby Nail Clippers of 2019
Getting your baby their own pair of clippers may seem frivolous until you sit down with them for the first time and realize what a delicate job it is. You want a tool that’ll let you get in there quickly, clip their nails, and be done before they get a chance to fuss.
1. Safety 1st Steady Grip Clipper
To give your toddler’s claws a good trim, you don’t have to have all the bells and whistles of fancy trimmers. This product has a simple, curved edge that will do a perfectly good job of safeguarding the corners of your child’s fingertips.
It also has a large soft-touch handle, so you’ll be comfortable while clipping. The non-slip gripper is important when every slight movement counts, and one wrong move could mean a screaming toddler and a guilty conscience.
When you use these, you’ll be able to see precisely where you’re positioning the blade on your child’s nails, which leads to great cutting accuracy.
- Highly affordable.
- For people who hate fancy gadgets, these are easy and straightforward to operate.
- The handle is comfortable and you won’t find your fingers constantly slipping off as you snip.
- Some parents had problems with them not holding up well after months of use.
- They could be a bit sharper to get a cleaner cut.
2. Piyo Piyo Baby Nail Scissors
If you want to give baby scissors a whirl, consider this pair. They come with a safety cover, so you can rest assured when you aren’t using them that they’re nice and safe.
The handle fits well in either hand so it’s also an option for left-handed people. Many find that scissors like these are just more maneuverable and easier to glide in an arc around the edge of your baby’s nails.
The rounded tips are safer than the sharp points normal scissors have, so you won’t stab anyone when your baby suddenly decides to jerk or fidget.
- These are easy to operate and they give you a clear view of the nails.
- The rounded tips add another layer of safety.
- The safety cover lets you securely stash these in a diaper bag.
- They’re a bit pricey.
- Won’t work for more than a few months because their nails will get tougher.
3. Baby Comfy Care Safety Nail Clipper
This safety clipper uses a single blade design that gives you foolproof control when it comes to cutting tiny nails. The ledge underneath the blade will help keep your baby’s skin out of the line of fire when you press down on the clipper.
If you want a shorter cut for your baby’s nail, you have to press their fingertip up closer against the ledge.
It’s large, sturdy and easy to hold for adults, plus the bright colors are a bonus because they won’t get lost as easily.
- It makes it much easier to clip your baby’s nails without cutting the skin, relieving some of your stress.
- The bright color is easy to spot in a cluttered drawer.
- It makes the chore of trimming nails a much faster process.
- It’s pricier than a basic model.
- These won’t be heavy duty enough to use as your child ages — they’ll get you through the toddler years and that’s about it.
4. Little Martin’s Drawer Electronic Baby Nail Clippers
Best Electronic Nail Clippers
Electronic nail clippers are a great option for moms worried about hurting those precious little fingers. The automation gives you more control and helps speed up the entire process. We love this set in particular for a number of reasons.
It’s a versatile tool with three cushioned sandpapers you can switch out, designed just for children. With an LED front light and an ultra-quiet motor, you can even use it when your child’s sleeping. They won’t even notice and you don’t have to worry about a squirming, screaming baby.
You operate it with a push of a button and it’s powered by two AA batteries. Choose from multiple speed and rotation settings to ensure you get the perfect trim for your baby’s needs.
We also love that it comes with another three attachments adults can use. When you can use it for everyone in your family, you save money and keep things simple.
- Cushioned sandpaper is gentle against your baby’s nails.
- Can be used on babies and adults, saving you money.
- Operates so quietly you can use it while your baby sleeps.
- Because it doesn’t work like traditional clippers, you may need to practice before you can use it safely.
5. Fridababy SnipperClipper Set
Best for Preemies
The smallest babies have the smallest fingernails. If you’re feeling anxious about trimming them, you may want to check out this clipper set created with newborns in mind. It has a number of useful features to put your mind at ease.
With a patented spy hole, you see exactly what and where you’re clipping to prevent nicks and cuts. It also has curved, overlapping blades for a smooth cut every time.
Alongside the nail clipper, you get a special nail file as well. It’s S-shape was designed just for newborns and follows the natural curve of their small nails. Buff away sharp edges or file them down between trimmings to prevent scratches.
If you’re mom to a preemie or a very small newborn, this nail clipping set can be used from the very first day. Plus, it works on anyone of any age, so you’ll be able to use it as your child grows.
- The design was made for the smallest babies, so it’s a great choice for preemies.
- Includes a nail clipper and a nail file in the set.
- Spyhole allows you to see where you’re clipping.
- The clipper itself is larger, so it can be bulky and hard to hold.
6. Safety 1st Sleepy Baby Clipper
This clipper has a light that shines clearly at the blade area. It helps you see what you’re doing, especially if you want to use these clippers in a dark room while your baby is sleeping.
As you’re clipping, cut nails won’t fly everywhere and land on your floor because the plastic part near the cutting edge serves as a case, stopping them from shooting off.
It comes with an emery board in its storage slot so you’ll be able to file down any jagged edges that remain after you’ve cut your baby’s nails.
- They’re affordable.
- The handle has a coating on it to make it more comfortable.
- Bright light helps you see exactly what you’re doing.
- The battery lasts a long time but isn’t replaceable.
- The light turns on automatically when you open them, but it will go off after a few minutes so if you don’t want to use it, you’ll have to wait it out.
7. ZoLi BUZZ B Electric Nail Trimmer
Best for Traveling
Whether you’re going on a family vacation or just running daily errands, you never know when you might need to trim your baby’s nails. A broken or jagged nail can end up doing a lot of damage if you’re not careful. Always be prepared by keeping this set with you on the go.
Because it’s smaller in size and includes a compact storage case, it fits easily in a car, diaper bag, or purse. You get four cushioned pads of varying grits to match each stage of your baby’s development. Choose a softer pad for newborns and a harder grit for when they get older.
Choose from two different power settings and turn on the trimmer with the click of a button. It’s run by a battery, which is included. We definitely suggest keeping another battery around. If you use this for traveling, you might have a harder time remembering to replace it.
- Compact size and the traveling case makes it great to take on the road.
- Includes four different cushioned pads of varying grits.
- Works a bit slowly, so a fussy baby will definitely have a hard time sitting still.
8. The First Years American Red Cross Clipper
The magnifying glass attached to this clipper increases the size of your baby’s nails by four times, so you’ll be able to get a better view of the situation.
When you aren’t using the magnifying portion, it folds away, which is great because you don’t want it constantly in your way.
The size of the clipper head is ideal for teeny baby nails, and you can use these from the first day you bring your baby back from the hospital.
The blades are stainless steel, and the big handle feels comfortable in your hand.
- You won’t have to toss these after your baby grows up — adults can use them too.
- The blades are sharp so they won’t leave rough edges.
- The handle won’t hurt your fingers to use.
- Some parents reported that the magnifying glass was too distracting to use.
- The magnifying glass can be hard to focus on a squirming baby.
Safety 1st Steady Grip clippers get my vote as the best baby nail clippers. I like simple, straightforward baby gear that isn’t complicated to use and lasts a long time. When I can use something for years instead of months, then I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.
The curved edge of these clippers protect your baby’s delicate skin, and the handle won’t cause any discomfort or fatigue for the parents operating it. For the money, it’s hard to beat this clipper.
As you try to master this new skill of trimming a baby’s fingers, remember not to beat yourself up too much if you accidentally nick the skin. It’s a difficult job and in a day or two, your baby will be just fine!
Any helpful tricks or suggestions for intrepid moms who are just starting out? Let us know in the comments!