It’s perhaps the task that every new parent dreads most: trimming those tiny, translucent nails.
With most parenting tasks, the price of screwing it up is pretty low. Fixed the diaper the wrong way round? What’s the worst that can happen? A leak? Who cares! It might be a bit messy, but it’s unlikely to bother your little one much, and it can be easily dealt with.
But when it comes to clipping your baby’s nails, it’s a whole other ball game. If you get it wrong, you could cut your little one’s tiny finger. At best, that means a crying baby you manage to soothe after a while; at worst, you might be taking a trip to the Emergency Department.
Thankfully, trimming your baby’s nails doesn’t have to be a terrifying ordeal. There are lots of infant nail clippers (as well as baby nail scissors and files) out there designed to be used on tiny infant nails, making it much less likely that you’ll accidentally hurt your child in the process.
Here’s a quick glance at what we believe to be some of the best baby nail clippers of today.
Best Baby Nail Clippers – A Quick Look At Our Top 5 Recommendations
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
- Safety 1st Sleepy Baby Nail Clipper
- NailFrida the SnipperClipper Set by Fridababy
- Simba Baby Safety Nail Scissors
- Little Martin’s Drawer Baby Nail Trimmer File
- The First Years American Red Cross Deluxe Nail Clipper
Best Baby Nail Clippers – A More Detailed Look At Our Top 5 Recommendations
Let’s have a more detailed look at each of our top baby manicure kit recommendations below, where we’ll discuss what there is to like about each option, and the potential drawbacks you should know about as well.
Safety 1st Sleepy Baby Nail Clipper
Sometimes, successful nail trimming can only happen in the dark.
Seriously, some determined babies will do everything in their power to fight having their shockingly fast-growing nails cut, despite the fact they actually often cut themselves with their own tiny talons.
They just don’t understand good nail hygiene, and good luck trying to explain it to them at such a young age!
The solution? With some wee ones, all you need to do is silently creep up on them while they doze, and clip away gently.
These feature their own wee headlight are useful for exactly such times. If you have a squirmy little worm who won’t stay still for their manicure, this might be just the right tool for you.
The LED light at the tip of the curved edges comes on automatically when you open the tool. To turn the light off, simply close the clippers. If the light times out and turns off while you’re working away, simply close and reopen the clippers to reactivate it.
These are appropriate from birth on.
- Built-in light at tip of clippers
- Emery board included
- Soft ergonomic handle
- Tool catches nails as they are being cut
- Appropriate from birth on
- Battery is not replaceable
- Light stays on if clippers aren’t closed properly
- Some people complain that the clipping bed is a bit narrow
NailFrida the SnipperClipper Set by Fridababy
The SnipperClipper features a combination of clippers and scissors, for those who haven’t yet established themselves firmly in one camp or another.
It’s shaped like a clipper, but these are curved and overlapping blades (just like baby scissors), which makes for smooth and silent cutting.
This tool also features a very useful (and potentially amusing) spy hole so you can see exactly what you’re working on.
You can use the SnipperClipper while your little one is either awake—and hopefully co-operative—or asleep. Having an option you can use in either case is super useful, as you never know when your services are needed!
- Useful spy hole for extra-clear focus
- Useful combination of both clipper/scissor blades
- Doesn’t make nearly as much noise as other products out there
- The way it was designed doesn’t make it possible (or at least not easy) to catch nails as they’re being cut
- Might be a bit too big for some infants
Simba Baby Safety Nail Scissors
Some people have very strong devotions when it comes to baby nail trimming. You have the committed clippers, the manic manicurers, and the serious scissorers.
If you fall into the latter camp, these just might be the perfect tool for you. If you must hear the satisfying snip of a clipped nail, though, move right along (and consider either of our two recommendations above). And, if you prefer the hum of a battery operated file, this little tool will not make you sing along.
These scissors are tiny, precise and do exactly what they’re supposed to do, with rounded tips that help prevent—or at least minimize—any unwanted (and painful) accidents.
They’re effective from birth right into adulthood, having blades that are sharp enough to deal with just about all your babies fingernails.
The superior control allows you to get into the corners of baby’s nails, so it’s very unlikely that your work will result in any jagged edges – unless you really don’t know what you’re doing.
These are safe and some of the easiest out there to use, even if you’re dealing with a wide-awake jumping bean with claws. They’re even easier to use if you’re working on a sleeping angel.
- One of the most comfortable and easily controllable options out there
- Extremely safe baby nail clippers. Risk of injury is minimal as long as you know what you’re doing
- Tiny and portable
- An excellent option to use for those of you who don’t want to resort to clippers
- For those of you who aren’t as experienced in cutting baby’s nails with scissors, you might find that using clippers or files is easier – at least till you get the hang of using scissors
Little Martin’s Drawer Baby Nail Trimmer File
This fancy little kit looks like it could come straight from the spa. As a matter of fact, it does include some parts for adult manicures, which just might sway mommy’s decision after all.
The dremel-style nail file spins little sanding disks of different weights, for specific types of nails: newborns, babies, children and adults.
Two speeds are available for you to maneuver between, depending on the job at – ahem – hand (this might be the most literal thing I’ve said all day).
There’s a slight learning curve involved with this tool, though, as it’s a little more complex than using a simple pair of scissors or a basic single-purpose nail clipper. With that being said, it’s more than worth it to take the time to become familiar with it if you’re specifically looking for a trimmer.
The motor is quiet enough to sneak up on unsuspecting sleepers—which you may very well find yourself having to do, because this might require a great deal of patience and co-operation on behalf of the manicuree.
Conveniently, there’s also a light incorporated in the handset to allow you to see in the dark.
- Quiet motor
- LED front light
- Disk refills available for whenever you need ones
- Comes with adorable animal stickers
- Excellent choice if you’re looking for an electric baby nail trimmer
- More moving parts to making this work than other types
- Refills required for constant use
- Uses batteries
The First Years American Red Cross Deluxe Nail Clipper
These stainless steel clippers with stainless steel blades are housed in a moulded ergonomic plastic handle, and sport a fold-away 4x magnifier so that you can see every last detail of your baby’s tiny nails without straining your already-tired eyes.
The handle is very well-designed, sits comfortably in the hand and provides extra control for those who need it most.
The straightforward design is appropriate for infants and right up into adulthood, and you can easily fold the magnifying tool away when you don’t need it.
Of course, these aren’t for the “scissors are the only way to go” people, or for the “fancy filing tools only, please” folks.
These could be just the right option for those who love to clip, clip, clip!
- One of the most precise out there
- Ergonomic handle
- Very useful magnifier
- The magnifier sometimes gets in the way
Why Should I Use Baby Clippers Instead of Regular Adult Nail Clippers?
You might be tempted to use your own nail clippers, or scissors, on your baby’s nails. After all, you might be thinking to yourself: “do I really need to make yet another useless purchase?”.
I expect it’s pretty obvious why that’s a bad idea, though: just look at the size of your fingers compared with your baby’s fingers.
Clippers designed to trim your nails neatly will be way too big to use to trim baby nails, and there’s a high risk you’ll end up cutting their finger, not just their nail.
Plus, unless you’re great at scrubbing your nails regularly, your hands may not be pristine when you use the clipper set on your nails. If you do end up slipping and nicking your baby’s skin, you definitely don’t want to risk transferring any dirt or germs from your clippers.
While there might be other occasions where you can get away with using adult products for your baby, this isn’t one of them, and we can’t advocate for anything that we don’t think is safe to work with.
Also, baby clippers or baby scissors are a fairly inexpensive purchase, so there’s no good reason not to use them.
What Should I Look For In The Best Nail Clippers For Baby?
There are a lot of different models out there, and you might be wondering what to choose.
We’ll be covering the key types in a moment, but whatever you end up choosing, it’s a good idea to look for these features.
Designed for Use on Newborns
You’ll probably need to trim your baby’s nails before they’re even a couple of weeks old – so do make sure you’re getting ones that are designed to be used on newborns.
Most baby clippers out there are, but it’s definitely worth checking the fine print just to be certain.
Alternatively, you could buy emery boards to use for the first few months, and then move on to using clippers once your little one is slightly older.
Includes a Light
You might want to trim your baby’s nails while they’re sleeping.
Many parents find that works well for them (though others prefer different times, like straight after a bath).
One obvious challenge, if you do choose to do this, is trying to actually see those tiny nails in the dark. And obviously enough, turning on the light in the room might wake your baby up – even if it’s just a baby night light.
The solution? Many of these clippers come with a small LED light, so you can easily see what you’re doing even if you’re in a dimly lit room.
Includes a Magnifying Glass
If you’ll be trimming your baby’s nails while they’re awake – perhaps you choose to do so during a feed – then it makes sense to opt for clippers that come with a magnifying glass.
This makes it extra-easy to see what you’re doing.
You’ll almost certainly need to choose between a magnifying glass or a light, though, so decide which is more important to you and pick a nail clipper set that suits your needs best.
Includes a Spy Hole
Some are designed with a little “spy hole” so you can easily see exactly how much of the nail you’re cutting – genius!
Again, you may find that you need to choose between this and other features like a light or magnifying glass, as not all baby nail clippers have all these features in one product.
This type of clipper tends to be fairly compact, so it could be a good option if you’ll be regularly packing it to take on vacation.
Easy to Use
It’s tricky to tell from looking at most baby nail clippers whether or not they’ll be easy to actually use. This is when other parents’ opinions are really helpful.
For starters, a steady grip that makes it comfortable for you to hold while working on grooming your little one is a great first step.
Ask around to see what friends are using, or read online reviews of the ones that you’re considering buying to give you a clearer idea of whether they’re likely to make your life easier or complicate things more than they already are.
Has Safety Features
Some baby clippers are designed so that it’s almost impossible to cut your baby’s nails – unless you’re intentionally trying to do that, of course. (Not sure who in their right mind would ever think about doing something like that, though … but I digress).
Look for ones that have a plastic ledge or a finger saddle that stops you positioning them too close to your baby’s nail bed.
If you’re feeling particularly nervous about clipping your baby’s nails, or if you’ve had some bad experiences in the past, you may find these give you some much-needed peace of mind and confidence.
What Different Types of Baby Nail Clippers Can I Choose From?
There are a lot of different types of baby nail clippers out there, ranging from ones that are pretty similar to adult clippers to ones that look like high-tech gadgets.
These are the key types you can choose from:
These may look quite different to the clippers you use – they might have a much bigger and rounded area to grip, and they may well have a “spy hole” so you can see the part of the nail that you’re cutting off.
Other than that, though, they’re essentially the same thing.
Clippers With Extra Features
Some clippers come with extra features beyond just a “spy hole”, such as an LED light, a magnifying glass, or a safety guard to keep you from accidentally clipping too close to the nail bed.
These can look quite different from regular clippers, but could be just what you need to easily trim your baby’s nails.
As mentioned above, you’ll most likely struggle to find all these features in a single product – so it’s well worth thinking about how and when you’ll be using the clippers, and selecting a pair that’ll work well in those specific circumstances.
If you have to buy different pairs suitable for different circumstances, then that’s a great option too.
If you normally use scissors rather than clippers on your own nails, you’ll probably prefer to use baby-safe scissors for your little one’s nails too.
There are lots of options out there, and they all normally have rounded tips so that you can’t accidentally jab your baby with them.
Some look just like adult nail scissors, others have plastic handles, and some have large handles and very short blades to make them easier to use with precision.
Electric Baby Nail Files
These are sometimes described as “electric nail clippers” or “electric nail trimmers”, but they’re really files that work like an emery board – except they’re electric nail files, so some parents find them quicker and easier to use.
If you find that your child’s nails remain sharp even after trimming, these could be a great option to blunt them (particularly if your baby sometimes scratches their face in their sleep or while awake).
If you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to spend much, or if you’re a bit nervous about using an electronic nail file, baby emery boards (aka nail files) can be a great option.
Many experts recommend using an emery board for newborn nails, and you might also want to use one in conjunction with clippers or scissors to smooth off an older baby’s nails.
Some emery boards are a bit too gentle to actually trim nails down significantly, though, so do keep that in mind if you’re considering using them as your only nail-trimming device.
How Many Baby Nail Clippers Should I Buy?
So, how many of these do you actually need for all your baby nail care requirements?
Since baby nail clippers are cheap (it’s hard to find anyone that’ll argue with you on that one), it may well make sense to buy a couple, perhaps opting for a two different types. If you’re up for it, buy a few and cover all types out there.
For instance, you might want some nifty clippers with a light to use at home, and small portable ones – or maybe just an emery board – to take with you when you’re going on vacation.
If you and other caregivers have different preferences about how it’s best to trim your baby’s nails, you’ll want to take all of this into account and perhaps make two or more different purchases.
For instance, you might prefer to use clippers whereas your partner might find it easier to use scissors.
Again, these are inexpensive purchases, so it makes sense to get something for all occasions, as well as something everyone’s comfortable working with.
How to Use Your Baby’s Nail Clippers Safely
However safe the clippers you choose are, you still need to use them carefully in order to avoid injuring your child. Even the best products out there used the wrong way will always cause trouble.
That means you should:
Always Follow the Instructions
You might be thinking to yourself: “how hard can it be to use nail clippers? It’s not like I’m the baby here!”.
However, the nail clipper set you choose may work slightly differently than the ones you’re used to – so do read the instructions and make sure you know exactly what you’re doing (as well as what you should avoid doing) before you begin.
Also ensure that other family members and/or caregivers are shown how to use the baby nail clippers safely, too, or that you at least give them the instructions to read. Don’t just leave it to them to figure it out!
Store Out of Children’s Reach
When you’ve finished clipping your baby’s nails, don’t sit back and breathe a sigh of relief too soon. Make sure you put those clippers away safely, somewhere they can’t get access to on their own.
You definitely don’t want your baby to get hold of them to play with, because that’s just a recipe for disaster.
If you have older children, this is particularly important. Not only might they play with the clippers, but they could also try to trim their own nails (or those of their younger sibling’s!) using them.
Treat the clippers like you would medications, and store them out of reach, ideally in a locked or child-proofed drawer or cupboard.
Regularly Inspect and Replace if Necessary
Whatever type of clippers, scissors or file you’re using, it’s important to regularly check and make sure they’re still safe to use.
You definitely don’t want to use rusting scissors, or clippers that are no longer correctly aligned, on your baby’s nails.
The same goes for nail files or emery boards: if you’ve been using the same one for a while, it’s probably losing its effectiveness and needs replacing so that you can trim your baby’s nails safely and efficiently.
Wrapping it Up
Truth be told, trimming your baby’s nails is probably never going to be high on your list of tasks you enjoy, no matter what kind of equipment you use for it.
However, with the right clippers, scissors, or file, you’ll be able to get those tiny nails trimmed and smoothed as safely and easily as possible.
There are lots of options out there for you to choose from – so don’t keep using the flimsy clippers that came in your baby’s grooming kit if they don’t feel comfortable or safe to you.
Shop around and find something else that works better for you and your little one, whether that means clippers with a light so you can trim those nails while they sleep, or round-tipped scissors so you can carefully cut baby’s nails while they’re cradled in your lap.
Just remember to read the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions, and you’ll be well on your way to trim your baby’s nails as safely as possible – which is all any parent can be expected to strive for!