Tips for trimming toenails

Q: How important is it to trim our son’s toenails? He’s too ticklish and/or fussy to let us near his feet.

A: This is a perfect example of “choose your battles.” 

Toes are wiggly and feet are ticklish. Cooperation in this situation can be negligible, but distraction is an excellent strategy. Try doing the task while your child is eating (while in a highchair) or watching his favorite movie. If you can capitalize on distraction after a bath has softened his toenails, he may not even notice the trimming or filing. 

An alternative strategy is waiting for your toddler to fall asleep. Some toddlers sleep so soundly that trimming or filing toenails is easy.

Trim or file toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails. And choose shoes that aren’t too small or pushing on toenails. If neither distraction nor sleep permits toenail care, however, toenails generally are soft and will wear away on their own.