9 answers

3 Year Old's Thumb Nail Is Coming Off

Hi. My son and daughter (5) were playing and my son got his thumb smashed in my daughter's bedroom door (now they know why mommy is always saying, "We don't slame doors!"). Anyway, it bled out the sides and I knew right away he would lose that nail. Its been a week now and its off on all sides except the bottom. Its really grossing me out too because he is constantly pulling back on it. Last night he used Woody's (Toy Story) hand to pull on it. I kept telling him to stop and he would respond, "I not, Woody is doing it"...oh, boys! Anyway, I am afraid he is going to pull it out and make the sore worse...I really want his thumb nail to grow back "normal".
Should I pull the nail off or leave it be and try to keep him from pulling on it???

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

YUCK IS RIGHT! :) Well, yesterday it magically came off 99.99% when he was taking a nap. I am guessing that Woody was "working" on it for him. He came out and dadddy had to cut it off the rest of the way. It's really ugly and gross, but hopefully the new nail will grow in before he enters college!

Featured Answers

I've lost a few nails in my life.

Leave it alone. Don't pull it off. Let it do it's own thing, and it will grow back.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Put a bandaid around the nail to discourage him pulling at it. Do not pull the nail off manually. Not only will it hurt like crazy, but it will cause the nail to grow back funny AND have an open sore. Let nature take it's course and have it grow OUT and give space for the new nail to come in. The smashed nail is serving as a covering from the flesh getting some type of infection.

3 moms found this helpful

I would cut it. BUT, my (almost 3) year old daughter had the same issue a few weeks ago. Her middle fingernail was grossing me out! It was bleeding, getting caught on stuff b/c she wouldn't keep a bandaid on it. Finally, I bought her some barbie bandaids and she kept that on for a day or so until the nail fell of by itself. If you can't stomach it, your pedi will clip it safely.

3 moms found this helpful

I've lost a few nails in my life.

Leave it alone. Don't pull it off. Let it do it's own thing, and it will grow back.

3 moms found this helpful

I would bandage it until he loses it so it doesn't bleed anymore. It's coming off either way, but opening it up will increase the chance of infection.

2 moms found this helpful

this happened to my daughter on her 3rd birthday. We had to have it lanced to releave pressure and then bandaged until the nail fell off. Get some athletic tape or cute bandaids but change them often and soak the nail in some anti-bacterial soap (about the only time you acutally need this kind of soap). It took about 3 weeks for the nail to finally fall off and then many months later but her nail grew back just fine and you would never know it happened!

2 moms found this helpful

If it's still firmly attached at any point around the cuticle or in the nail bed, the nail will be extremely painful to pull off. (That's used as torture, it hurts so much.)

Your son is probably gradually loosening it, like a loose tooth, and just like a tooth, it may eventually fall out. Until then, you can either band-aid the nail in place, or trim off as much of the loose nail as possible so it won't get snagged and tear out prematurely (see "torture," above).

My husband loses at least a couple of toenails every year after a heavy-duty backpacking trip. His toes pound against his boots when the trail runs downhill, and the trauma bruises his nail beds and roots so badly that he spends the next several months waiting for the loosened parts to grow out long enough for me to clip them off. We've discovered that the big toenail takes almost a year to completely renew itself. Just in time for another hike!

2 moms found this helpful

If it's not hurting him (and he's pulling it off himself), you can pull or trim it off. Cover it with a bandaid till it stops bleeding. Once the bleeding stops you can leave it alone. A new nail will grow in eventually.

1 mom found this helpful

Give him a cool bandage (I think there's toy story ones) and maybe that'll help him leave the nail alone. We like the nexcare tatoo bandages around our house. My 3 year old wants them just because they're fun even when she doesn't have a sore.

1 mom found this helpful

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