One of our nail technicians is pregnant. Recently, some casual conversation turned to how soon after she delivers will she polish her baby’s nails. It was a joking comment, but it did spawn a discussion on what age might be OK to start polishing a child’s nails and when it might be OK to start giving the child manicures and pedicures.
It appears there are many wide ranging thoughts on the subject. In a today.com survey, 6,254 mothers were polled and:
- 49 percent said age 13 is acceptable
- 30 percent said ages 8-12 was acceptable
- 20 percent said under age 8 was acceptable
We have seen young children in the salon getting their nails polished, and they have a wonderful time.
Some argue that it is a great bonding experience between Mother and Daughter. Others argue that starting too soon could cause the child to think that their hands/feet are not good enough unless they are decorated. Others argue that a salon is too toxic of an environment for young children.
There does not seem to be any consistent view on the subject.
So, it seems it is really up to the parents and when they feel comfortable. But, regardless of the age when they start, precautions should be taken, for health and safety reasons:
- Always choose a clean salon/spa which is reputable and uses either sterilized or disposable instruments.
- Limit the service to nail filing and polishing, and avoid cuticle trimming until the child is older.
- Make sure the nail products used are free from harsh chemicals (for example, formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate).
- Make sure that the bowls where the hands and/or feet are soaked are thoroughly cleaned after every use. The soaking is not really necessary for a child, since the purpose is to soften the skin for cuticle trimming or callus removal, which are not typically an issue for young children. But, if done, it should be done with clean water and clean bowls.
- Avoid salons/spas which offer acrylic nails as the chemicals used for such services can create an unpleasant smell and can present some, perhaps small, health risk.