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What Are Toddler Finger Nail Disorders?

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
What Are Toddler Finger Nail Disorders?
A toddler bites her nails. Photo Credit: Darja Vorontsova/Hemera/Getty Images

Many toddlers hate to get their fingernails trimmed; for most parents, nothing is harder in terms of the health of their toddler's fingernails. However, sometimes a young child's nails need medical treatment due to a fungus, infection or problem with nutrition.

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Fingernails are made from protein, which gives them their hardness and health. A deficiency in protein can lead to nails that are flat and thin. A toddler who lacks adequate amounts of Vitamins A, B, C or iron and zinc will experience brittle nails that crack and break easily. Parents are usually told to give their child a multivitamin to help to keep vitamin and nutrient levels at a healthy amount. A pediatrician can help parents to choose the right one for their toddler.


A toddler can pick up a nail fungus from bathrooms or from someone who already has one. Nail fungus can spread from person to person, and once a toddler gets it, other fingernails can be adversely affected, as well. Symptoms of a fungal infection include thick, yellow or crumbly nails. They often start with a small colored spot under the nail. A doctor can treat a fingernail fungus so that it goes away and does not spread. Additionally, little girls who go to the nail salon can pick up a fungus from equipment that hasn't been properly cleaned. Keeping a toddler's nails short and clean will help to prevent a fungus from taking hold.

Nail Biting

Toddlers who bite their nails have formed a habit that is very hard to break. Some bite when they are nervous, others when they are distracted, scared or simply want to. Kids Health estimates that anywhere from 30 percent to 60 percent of children will bite their nails at some point. However, biting the nails often leads to ripped skin, which is a good way for an infection to get in. In addition, a toddler's hands come into contact with a multitude of germy surfaces over the course of the day and putting the hands into the mouth can lead to other illnesses.

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