44 answers

Nail Polish on a 3-Year Old

I would like to hear the thoughts and opinions of other mothers about a 3-year old having her toenails painted. Personally, I feel that the chemicals of the polish are very harmful, and that applying polish and make-up and any of those sort of things on a preschooler is sending the wrong message.

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Featured Answers

I don't believe it is harmful. I painted my daughters toenails when she was little but not her fingernails until she was a bit older because she was a thumbsucker. I don't believe it did her any damage. It is just a fun thing for little girls and their moms to do.

1 mom found this helpful

every girl loves dressup and polish. there is nothing wronge with the polish, if you are concerned about the fumes then just do it outside and let it wear off don't use the nail polish remover. I have 2 girls and they have loved it since they were able to walk, I paint mine so why not them.

I don't find anything wrong with it my daughter will be 2 in 8 days and I have been doing hers because she see me do my own. They don't have much of a nail and dosn't stay on long anyways

More Answers

If you feel THAT strongly about toenail polish, then by all means, do not paint your daughters toenails! However, if you are upset about other people allowing their children to have their toenails painted, I think you need to find a hobby.

If nail polish was dangerous and posed a significant health threat when used correctly, do you not think there would be some sort of public outcry? I have never, in all my years of teaching and secondary education, heard anyone worry about toenail polish. Unless your child is eating the polish off their toes and fingers, its as harmless as getting marker pen or pain on ones skin (in fact, things that are placed on the skin are absorbed quickly and readily into the body, whereas things cannot be absorbed by placement on a toenail). Did you know that the levels of toxicity and pollution in the air in your home are 3 times higher than the level of pollution one encounters outside? The plastic cups and plates that your child eats off of are far more saturated with chemicals that can be easily absorbed into your little one's body? If you're going to worry about toenail polish, you might as well put your daughter into a sterile bubble and never let her have contact with anything or anyone.

I have a 2 1/2 year old who loves having her toenails and fingernails painted - it is a special treat to her, and happens when we visit grandma or Auntie (my 20 year old sister) on occasion. Not only does it just make her week, but I am able to use it as a "treat" in order to make toenail and fingernail clipping a non issue (she absolutely hates to sit still for the fingernail and toenail cutting). She is obviously not allowed to play with the nail polish, or drink it, or pour it all over herself - but I find your worry about nail polish to be a little paranoid. Do you put lotion on her skin, use soap and shampoo on her body in the bath? Put sunblock on her? Allow her to play with other children, or go to the park? Those products are FILLED with chemicals, yet we still use them on a daily basis - and the sandbox in the neighborhood park is a cesspool of bacteria, viruses, and other creepy crawlies that can make children very sick.

Im a special education teacher and deal with many very medically fragile children. Stop worrying about the nail polish - don't put it on your child if you feel that strongly about it, but don't judge others that allow their children to partake in it.

3 moms found this helpful

hi! only my opinion, but if you're painting your toenails, then why can't she?
also, we put them in dresses and put their hair up in the name of "pretty", right?
and, you can set an age limit ("no painting until you're X age") but the drawback may be what kids will do to rebel against restrictions -
anyhow, we've painted our little one's toenails a few times, she thinks it's pretty, but we're confident that her self-esteem isn't driven by it :)
i hear you on the toxic issue - our environment these days is VERY less-than desirable, right?
anyhow, good luck and i'm sure whatever you decide will be the right thing for your family!
smiles :)

1 mom found this helpful

I don't believe it is harmful. I painted my daughters toenails when she was little but not her fingernails until she was a bit older because she was a thumbsucker. I don't believe it did her any damage. It is just a fun thing for little girls and their moms to do.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it's fine. I have two girls (2 and 6) and they both love nail polish. I allow them to choose from a few different shades, all pink. They are subtle and pretty. Although my 6 year old likes sparkly blue, too which I sometimes allow. If you're worried about the chemicals there are several non-toxic options like this one http://polishedmama.com/products.htm
It's fun, harmless and the more you don't want them to do it, the more they will want it. I say choose your battles and this one isn't worth it. Have a nail painting party!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there:
Interesting point, I haven't ever heard about worries over toenail/fingernail polish. I paint my daughters (4 years) toes and its really a lot of fun. Even better is to take her for a pedicure with me. They reduce the procedure down to the basics - but it sure makes her feel special and allows her a chance to connect with me on something and actually gives her a lot of confidence. Chemically speaking, I really don't see any harm.

1 mom found this helpful

You dont say why you are asking. If you don't like the idea of painting your 3yo's toenails, then by all means dont! And explain to her why.

However (and I only have a boy here) I see nothing wrong with doing it occasionally, for special occasions, when she is ... (7 or whatever age), etc. I would far rather have little girls' toenails painted than fingernails.

If you are just looking at your daughter's age-mates and fretting about them wearing toenail polish, you most likely do not have the whole picture. It could be that these little girls have big sisters/aunts that like to doll them up, it could be a reward for something they do at home (such as staying dry a whole week, or not biting their nails), maybe you didnt know that the nailpolish is nontoxic kids polish, and maybe, it just simply isnt a big deal or concern to the parent.

What I personally dont like is little girls wearing spaghetti tops, bare back dresses, etc. Dont parents know that indoor places are A/C'ed and there is no need to start them wearing skimpy clothes at 3 or even 5 (plenty of time to battle that when they're in high school & going out on dates!).

And dont get me started on heavy dark eye make up for 14yo's (or women of any age actually) (and no I dont think nail polish is quite the same thing as makeup).

And how about those deep dark tans!? Or running around at home naked or in just undies?

See, everyone has their own rock to stand on. Just so long as we dont throw them at each other!! ;-)

Live and let live. You may share your reasons for not doing so for your own daughter, maybe any concerns or opinions but remember that they are your own. What a boring world if everyone were all the same.

(And I agree with you more than I disagree. Just sharing the "other" viewpoints out there)

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter just turned four years old and we have, on occasion, painted her fingernails and toenails. My daughter sees me with my nails painted and I don't see it as "sending the wrong message" at all, but rather an opportunity to have fun and do something together. She doesn't watch TV, or commercials, so I really don't think this is setting her up for a life of dieting and botox to try to fit in. It's just something fun for a mom and daughter to do together.

When my daughter was a baby, I founded a nonprofit addressing environmental toxins and their affects on children's development, so I can assure you I'm totally aware of the harmful chemicals in personal care products, particularly nail polish and remover. For this reason, my daughter ONLY uses phthalate-free nail polish, with good ratings in the EWG Skin Deep database. We allow the polish to just "grow out" rather than use harsh remover.

There's a great brand called Honeybee Gardens that actually peels off, so it doesn't last a long time, but doesn't have nasty chemicals in it and avoids the use of remover.

I use peacekeeper cosmetics mostly, but you can try the www.cosmeticsdatabase.org to look for something you want to use.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,

I don't care much for nail/toenail polish because to me it's too much work to maintain. But for kids, nail polish seems to be just something fun to experiment with. My three-year-old daughter likes having polish on her toes once in a while, and is delighted for a brief time, then forgets about it. My sons, who are much older, also wanted to try nail/toenail polish at one time or another, and I obliged them. There are much more important issues to "put my foot down" about, in my opinion, so I just let them have fun with this.

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