Is It Safe To Paint Your Toddler's Nails?

As a mom, you often get a bit excited to try new things with your daughter. From twinning your dresses, to your hairstyle, and footwear, everything seems to be fun as you see a mini version of yourself right in front of you. Now what if your little toddler asks for her nails to be painted too? Is nail polish safe for toddlers? In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about using nail polish with your toddler.

Painting your toddler’s nails may seem like a fun way to bond with your daughter (with all those matching colors perfect for a mom and daughter photoshoot!) However, do take note that many of the regular nail polish around contain certain chemicals like that may be harmful for your little lady.

Chemicals To Avoid

The following chemicals may be listed in different names, but they are most likely present in many nail polish brands in the market.


These chemicals are used in many personal care and aesthetic products, including nail polish. Though they were once commonly used, latest research found that phthalates can increase the risk of allergic conditions in young children, such as eczema and asthma. Exposure to phthalates is also linked to developmental delays among children.


This chemical is also present in artificial fragrances, paint thinner, and some household cleaning products. Experts warn against constant exposure to these chemicals that may lead to liver, kidney, respiratory, and nervous system problems.


This common ingredient of household products and building materials is used to prevent nail polish from chipping off the nail. According to researchers, prolonged exposure to formaldehyde is linked to certain types of cancer and respiratory problems. It may also put pregnant women at a greater risk of miscarriage, preterm birth and congenital defects.

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP)

This chemical is listed as an ingredient of the popular nail polish brands at present. Exposure to TPHP is linked to reproductive and endocrine toxicity, but the extent to which it can harm humans is still being studied.

Some of these chemicals can be inhaled in the fumes that are released as you apply the nail polish. Another safety concern in applying nail paint to your toddler’s nails is directly ingesting these chemicals when she put her fingers and toes into her mouth. So while there is no direct link between nail polish and health threats in young children, many mothers simply decide to avoid painting their young daughter’s nails.

Non-toxic nail polish for toddlers

So, does that mean that you should avoid painting your toddler’s nails completely? Well, maybe. Fortunately not! Here’s the good news. If you really can’t resist your daughter’s begging eyes while requesting to put some colorful paint on her nails, there are certainly plenty of safe options available.

Check out these toddler safe nail polish that are specifically created without the harsh chemicals or toxins found in regular nail polish.

Piggy Paint Non-Toxic Nail Polish

This water-based nail polish is a good option for your little fashionista. It is a non-toxic nail polish for kids that is made from the United States and 100 percent free from toxins. It comes in four different colors that your little tot will surely love! This nail polish chips off quickly and may take a bit more time to dry up. One suggestion to quick dry nail polish for toddlers is to use a blow dryer. You can use this tip while applying the first layer to keep your toddler away from waiting too long.

Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish

If you wish to match your nail polish color with your little one, this organic, kid friendly nail polish can be your top option. The nail polish is toxic-free and durable, making it ideal for both yours and your daughter’s nails.

Klee Kids Water-based Peelable Nail Polish

This odorless and non-toxic nail polish can be perfect for painting your toddler’s nails. This toddler nail polish is easy to apply and remove as it will peel off on its own under warm water. No nail polish removers needed! It also comes in 7 adorable colors to choose from.

Safety tips while painting your toddler’s nails

Knowing the potential toxins found in the common nail polish around, you might as well be aware of these safety tips when you’re going to paint your child’s nails.

Try painting only the tip of the nails.

Toddlers love to imitate what their moms are doing. So if your toddler insists on painting her nails while you are getting yours done, you can try painting only the tip of her nails. This way, the nail polish won’t directly touch her skin.

Paint her toenails instead of her fingernails.

It is more likely for your toddler to nibble on her fingers than her toes. Painting her toenails will minimize the chances of your toddler ingesting the nail polish.

Apply nail polish in a well-ventilated area.

This will further minimize the risk of sniffing any fumes or scents that may be too strong for your toddler’s little nose. It is best to do the application of nail polish outdoors or if you’ll need to do it indoors, make sure to keep the windows or doors open.

Give your toddlers nails a time to breathe.

Skip a couple of months before re-applying nail polish. Though many child-friendly nail polish are water-based and chips off easily, it doesn’t mean that you’ll need to reapply it very often. Your toddler’s nails are fragile and you wouldn’t want to damage them by applying nail polish too frequently.

Keep your nail polish out of children’s reach.

Your toddler will love to experiment on her own nails, especially when nobody is looking. So it is best to keep your nail polish in areas that are inaccessible to your toddler, or better yet, don’t let her see where you’d keep them!


Painting your toddler’s nails with regular nail polish may expose her to several toxic chemicals that can potentially put her health at risk. Young children are also fond of placing their fingers into their mouths, so if there is no urgent need to paint her nails, it is still best to keep them clean, clear, and short. However, this doesn’t mean that your toddler should miss all the fun of having painted nails. Should you choose to color the nails of your little daughter, simply make sure that you choose a non-toxic, kid safe nail polish and apply it with extra care.


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