Why You Should Think Twice Before Putting Nail Polish on Your Toddler

I'm the guiltiest offender when it comes to quickly scanning labels instead of actually reading them. But when I became a mom, I made a huge effort to start paying more attention to the ingredients in the food and products I was buying for my daughter. But one thing I never really thought twice about was nail polish . . . that is, until my own mother recently questioned my decision to put a sparkly pink color on my toddler.

To be honest, I never thought nail polish could be harmful, but the more I looked into it, the more I began to worry whether or not bonding over nail polish with my 2-year-old might be putting her in harm's way. What if my daughter sucks her thumb while wearing nail polish? What happens then? POPSUGAR spoke with Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Orange County, who shared things parents should consider before putting a fresh coat of paint on your little one's nails.

"Nail polish generally contains toxic chemicals which could be dangerous, because little ones often put their fingers in their mouths," Dr. Williamson told POPSUGAR. "According to the Food and Drug Administration, nail polish commonly contains phthalates, toluene, and formaldehydee. These chemicals can be listed by different names, and have been linked to skin irritations and allergic reactions, in addition to a variety of other health problems."

While these chemicals can potentially be harmful to a toddler's skin or lungs if ingested, Dr. Williamson explained that there isn't enough information to completely rule out nail polish for toddlers. "More research is needed to definitively say whether nail polish intended for adults is safe for kids," she continued.

But for parents who don't want to miss out on mani-pedi dates with their little one, don't panic. Dr. Williamson suggested opting for safe, kid-friendly nail polish brands instead. "Look for water-based nail polishes and removers that are free of chemicals," she said. That way, you don't have to worry about any additives or chemicals, and your toddler can still look darn cute rocking a new manicure.