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What to Do When Your Baby Eats Nail Polish: A Parent’s Guide

As parents, we aim to keep our little ones safe at all times. However, sometimes, babies manage to surprise us with their curiosity, like when you discover that your baby ate nail polish. If you’re currently in this situation or simply preparing for possible future emergencies, this guide will walk you through the necessary steps.

Immediate Actions if Your Baby Ate Nail Polish

  1. Don’t panic: Try to stay calm, as your reaction can influence your baby’s response.
  2. Examine your baby: Check for signs of choking or difficulty breathing.
  3. Contact a healthcare professional: Call Poison Control or your pediatrician immediately to discuss the situation and get professional advice.

Identifying Potential Symptoms if a Baby Eats Nail Polish

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in behavior
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Discolored lips or tongue

Preventive Measures to Avoid Nail Polish Ingestion

  1. Store safely: Keep nail polish and other cosmetic products out of your baby’s reach.
  2. Supervise closely: Babies need constant supervision, especially when they’re in an environment with potential hazards.
  3. Teach them: As they grow older, teach your children about the dangers of ingesting non-food items.

Potential Health Implications of Ingesting Nail Polish

What Are the Possible Consequences If a Baby Ingests Nail Polish?

When a baby consumes nail polish, it can lead to mouth or throat irritation, stomach upset, or more serious issues depending on the quantity ingested and the specific ingredients in the nail polish.

Are the Chemicals in Nail Polish Harmful to Babies?

Yes, many nail polishes contain chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate, which can be harmful if ingested. It’s important to seek medical attention promptly if a baby ingests nail polish.

What Damage Can Nail Polish Cause to the Body?

Nail polish ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, or even poisoning in severe cases, due to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals.

Understanding Nail Polish Composition and Toxicity

What Constitutes Nail Polish?

Nail polish typically includes film formers, resins, solvents, and coloring agents. Some also contain potentially harmful chemicals such as toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde.

Are There Non-Toxic Alternatives to Traditional Nail Polishes?

Yes, some brands offer non-toxic nail polishes, often labelled as “3-Free” or “5-Free,” indicating the absence of certain harmful chemicals.

Do All Nail Polishes Contain Lead?

No, most nail polishes do not contain lead. However, some may contain trace amounts, especially those with shimmer or glitter.

Can Nail Polish Be an Endocrine Disruptor?

Some nail polishes contain chemicals like phthalates that can act as endocrine disruptors, affecting hormone regulation in the body.

Considering Nail Polish Safety For Babies and Kids

Is It Safe to Use Nail Polish on a Newborn or a 1-Year-Old?

Given the potential risks associated with nail polish chemicals, it’s generally not advisable to use nail polish on newborns or young toddlers. If you do decide to use it for older kids, opt for non-toxic brands and always supervise its use.

What Nail Polish Brands Are Safe for Kids?

Several brands offer non-toxic nail polishes for kids. Some examples include Piggy Paint, Keeki Pure and Simple, and Suncoat Girl, which avoid harmful chemicals in their products.

Addressing Nail Polish Remover Safety

Is Nail Polish Remover Safe for Babies? What About Acetone?

Nail polish remover, particularly those containing acetone, can be harmful if ingested or if it comes into contact with a baby’s skin or eyes. Non-acetone alternatives are usually safer but should still be used with caution.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of Acetone?

Acetone can cause skin irritation, difficulty breathing, throat pain, and nausea or vomiting if ingested. Its fumes can also be harmful if inhaled in large quantities.

What Constitutes Nail Polish Remover?

Nail polish remover usually contains a solvent such as acetone or ethyl acetate, along with oils, scents, and coloring.

How to Safely Remove Nail Polish from a Baby’s Nails?

If you need to remove nail polish from a baby’s nails, opt for a non-acetone remover and use it sparingly. Be careful to avoid contact with their skin or eyes.

Real Life Experiences from Parents

“One morning, my son Aiden got a hold of my wife’s nail polish. He thought it was a toy and before I knew it, he’d gotten some in his mouth. We called our pediatrician and she advised us to watch him for any signs of discomfort or changes in behavior. It was a tense couple of days, and even though he turned out fine, the experience was enough to remind me that constant supervision is crucial.” – James, Houston, Texas

“My daughter, Sophia, once ingested a small amount of nail polish. I remember the terror I felt when I found her sitting in the middle of her room, nail polish smeared around her mouth. We rushed her to the pediatric unit at the UCLA Medical Center. She experienced mild vomiting and was under observation for 24 hours. This incident taught me to never underestimate a toddler’s ability to get into things.” – Marie, Los Angeles

“As a mother of three, I thought I’d seen it all. But when my youngest, Ava, managed to get her hands on a bottle of nail polish, I was at a loss. I managed to call the NHS 111 helpline while trying to clean her up. She seemed okay but developed a mild rash around her mouth later. We had to apply a gentle cream prescribed by our GP for a week. Not every story ends in a disaster, but it was certainly a scare we didn’t want to repeat.” – Rebecca, Birmingham, UK

How Can Help is a trusted platform that provides guidance for various parenting concerns, including emergencies like when your baby ate nail polish. Maintaining a safe environment for your child doesn’t only protect them from hazards, but it also promotes better sleep. A baby who has ingested nail polish might face discomfort that disrupts their sleeping pattern.

We understand that a well-rested baby leads to a well-rested parent. That’s why we offer numerous resources to help your baby sleep better, like tips on creating a safe environment, managing emergencies, and maintaining optimal sleep patterns. Visit today to discover more resources for a peaceful sleep experience for you and your baby.


Discovering that your baby ate nail polish can be a distressing experience. However, knowing the immediate steps to take, identifying potential symptoms, and understanding preventive measures can make a significant difference. For more helpful advice and resources, remember to visit We’re here to ensure that you and your baby can sleep peacefully every night.

1 thought on “What to Do When Your Baby Eats Nail Polish: A Parent’s Guide”

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