Can my toddler wear nail polish?

Nail polish is often extremely vibrant, shiny, and colorful, so if Baby is interested in wearing some on her nails, it’s no surprise, especially if she has seen you wearing or applying it. Even outside of how pretty it looks on nails, the simple act of brushing on the polish can look fun and exciting to Baby. But is it a good idea?

Your average bottle of nail polish will contain a bunch of long, complicated ingredients that can look a little scary. Most of the time, you’re just looking at pigments for color, film former to harden the polish, plasticizer to prevent chipping, UV blockers to protect the color, solvents to help the polish dry, and polymers to help everything stick together. However, the labeling of ingredients on nail polishes is not always accurate, and it’s possible that some nail polishes may contain harmful chemicals even if they’re not listed on the label.

Most adults don’t have to worry about chemicals in their nail polish because they’re applying it in small amounts, not biting or chewing their nails, and not trying to drink from the little bottles. Toddlers usually don’t have this same level of self-control, so nail polish that could potentially contain harmful ingredients is more dangerous for them. Make sure to keep it out of reach in cabinet or drawers, and don’t leave Baby unattended with a bottle. The same is true for nail polish remover.

If you’re concerned about chemicals in nail polish, there are some brands specifically marketed as non-toxic or water-based formulas, which could ease some concerns. These polishes often aren’t the same quality as major brands, but that probably won’t be a huge dealbreaker for Baby.

The other question parents might have about letting their children wear nail polish is simply, “Is she too young?” That’s obviously up to each parent to decide, but there’s no harm in playing dress up with your little one with a little nail polish if that’s what you and Baby want. Many parents find it to be a fun bonding experience. If you’re concerned about it being a distraction or a potential mess, you can use clear nail polish to get the pampering experience without the colorful effects.

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