Skin care, nail care and dental care for babies

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Read about the importance of infant skin care, nail care, and dental care. Useful tips are provided for the most effective treatment possible.

Key points

  • Your baby should not wear sunscreen until they are six months old, so keep them out of direct sunlight, especially during warmer months and seek medical attention if they develop a sunburn.
  • In the winter, cover up your baby's skin as much as possible to avoid frostbite.
  • It is important to keep your baby's fingernails well-trimmed so that they do not scratch themselves.
  • Dip a piece of gauze in water and wipe it along your baby’s gums once a day, after your baby’s last feeding.

Your baby's delicate skin and nails will need special care right from birth. While they don't have teeth yet, it's not too early to start a dental care routine.

Skin care

Your baby’s skin is very thin and fragile, and it needs special protection at any time of the year. Your baby should not wear sunscreen until they are about six months old, so make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight, especially in the warmer months and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. In summer, make sure they wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face. If your baby does develop a sunburn, seek medical attention right away.

In winter, make sure to keep your newborn baby warm, and cover up their skin as much as possible to prevent frostbite. Use a humidifier to keep the air in their room moist, but make sure to keep the device clean to prevent the build-up of mould. Mould can be transmitted into the air and cause respiratory problems.

Nail care

Even though your baby’s fingernails are tiny, soft and thin, they can still cause damage to their face if they are in the habit of scratching. Therefore, it is important to keep their fingernails well-trimmed. When using a nail clipper, push the pad of their finger away from the nail as you cut, in order to avoid cutting their finger. Using a nail clipper on your baby may seem daunting at first, so if you feel uncomfortable, try filing down their nails with an emery board.

Your baby’s nails will grow much faster than you might expect. Their fingernails will probably need trimming once or twice a week.

Dental care

Your newborn baby should not have any teeth yet, but it is still a good time to begin a dental care regimen. Simply dip a piece of gauze in water and wipe it along your baby’s gums. Try to do this once a day, after your baby’s last feeding.

Some newborn babies are born with one or two teeth. If this is the case for your baby, make sure to brush their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush. Do this a couple of times per day: after the first and last feedings.

Once your baby starts teething, make sure to brush their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush. Do this a couple of times per day: after the first and last feedings.

Toothpaste is not necessary for babies under six months of age, and may lead to overdosing of fluoride.

Another way to avoid tooth decay is to refrain from giving your baby a bottle as a pacifier or in bed at night. Giving your baby a bottle of milk at night may cause permanent damage to their teeth when they do come in. If your baby has come to rely on having a bottle at night, fill it with water instead of milk.

Last updated: October 18th 2009