I know you have heard it time and time again, “Cut your baby’s nails. They are sharp.” But take it from me, again, cut your baby’s nails. They are sharp and make sure you get the sharp, little corners. While this might seem like a strange blog post topic, it’s something I wanted to shed light on based on my personal experience. One year ago Meadow severely sliced my cornea. It was hands down one of the worst, most painful injuries I have ever experienced.
Just like our usual mornings, Brian got up with Meadow. He usually takes the early morning baby shift to let me sleep a bit longer before being on mom duty all day. (I really hit the jackpot in the husband department, but I’ll save bragging about him for another post! ;)). When it was time for him to get ready for work he laid Meadow on my chest. I opened my eyes to start the day and was greeted by a baby finger to the eye. Because I was just waking up I had no idea Meadow’s fingers were that close to my eyes and her little, sharp nail sliced my eyeball. I knew immediately something was seriously wrong. At first I thought something was in my eye. It felt like a horrible burning, scratchy feeling. Brian had to go to work, as he had patients waiting. I pushed through the first part of my day practically blind to take care of my baby. My eye was watering nonstop and extremely sensitive to light. After a few hours I made an appointment with an eye specialist. Luckily, my dear friend Liz was free and was able to drive me to my appointment. By the time we got to the doctor I was all but blind in my right eye. The pain was unbearable.
I would like to give a major shout out to Dr.Beckman at Spring Hill Eye Care. She saw me immediately and was not only super knowledgeable, but very caring. Without her attention to detail and care I don’t know how I would have gotten through the healing process. Dr. Beckman did an eye exam and informed me I had a severely sliced cornea right across the center of my eye. I was shocked such a little nail could cause so much damage. She had concerns that if it didn’t heal properly, I would have scarring which could effect my vision. Everyday for two weeks I had to visit her for an examination. She called and checked on me consistently. She even met me after office hours when I had a reaction to our first attempt at placing a bio tissue lens. After a few days we had to do another round of bio tissue lens, which luckily worked. Essentially, I had an object in my eye the size of nickel for about 4 days. My eye has healed pretty well and I am very thankful. Occasionally I’ll get sporadic watering and it will bother me, but overall I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. One thing I learned through this accident is eye injuries from baby and toddler nails are very common. Apparently Dr.Beckham sees these type of accidents frequently.
This is why I feel it’s so important to share my story and a few tricks I’ve learned on how to cut your baby’s nails! It’s definitely not an easy task. I get it, you are scared you might clip skin. Most of the time your baby or toddler will cry though the process anyway which causes anxiety. However it’s something that must be done. Don’t let them deter you from the task or you will have issues down the road. I always think about what if Meadow sliced her own eye and not mine. That would have been absolutely horrible. Now, I always make sure to take the time to check her little hands for her protection and ours.
Tips & Tricks
1. Distraction is key. Give your child a toy, put on a show and do anything to take the focus off of their hands.
2. Make it fun! I have found myself singing songs. I literally sing “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” and then switch hands. It might seem silly, but no one is judging you. Do whatever it takes to keep your baby laughing.
3. Cut their nails while they are playing in the tub. Not only are they distracted and having fun with water toys, but babies nails are softer when they’ve been in the bath which makes them easier to clip.
4. Cut your nails and show them it doesn’t hurt. Let them hold the clippers if they are old enough. Make it a game. I tell Meadow “Pretty!” and then do a mini manicure. Monkey see monkey do.
5. If needed, don’t do it all at once. Sometimes I’ll knock out one hand and one foot, then go back later for the others. Just don’t forget to go back and do the rest!
6. Cut their nails while they are sleeping. I have done this a few times when my other tricks didn’t work. Babies and toddlers sleep so soundly they usually have no clue you’re clipping their nails.
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK FOR SHARP CORNERS! I hope these tips help.