Arrow to expande the menu options
baby with scratches on its face

baby scratching face: why babies scratch their faces and how to treat them

3 minutes


There aren’t many things more beautiful than our own baby’s face. Whether it’s the look of total peace while they sleep or that mischievous grin when they’re doing something adorable but that they shouldn't, their expressions combined with that perfect, soft baby skin is just the best.

So, when all of a sudden there’s a big bleeding scratch across your baby's face, it can come as a bit of a shock. And then when you realise that big, bleeding scratch came about from their own fingernails? Well, cue feeling like a terrible parent.

Because really, how could you have let your child’s fingernails get so razor sharp that they could draw blood from their own face? Well…pretty easily actually.

  • 1. How can I prevent my baby from scratching their face?

  • 2. Why is my baby scratching their face when upset or at night?

  • 3. How do I get rid of scratches on my baby's face?

  • 4. After my baby scratches their face will it leave a scar?

1. How can I prevent my baby from scratching their face? Cutting their nails to avoid baby face scratches.

“Cutting a baby’s fingernails is easy,” said no parent ever. 

If you find your baby scratches their face often then try out this tip to keep your little one's fingernails smooth and short.

It’s a fine art that involves skill, patience and a baby that doesn’t move, and therefore, isn’t the kind of thing you can quickly do as and when.

Many parents find it’s a team effort - one holds the baby still while the other snips, while others swear by doing it at night or after bathing your baby. Another quick tip is to try and clip baby's nails while they sleep in the stroller. That way, they stay still and you have daylight to work with.

If your baby is frequently scratching themselves (at night if they have eczema for instance) look into purchasing some scratch mittens to keep their nails covered up.

2. Why is my baby scratching their face when upset or at night?

Babies, especially newborns, scratch their faces easily. So let's address this. Why do babies scratch their face in the first place?

Babies can be quite clumsy: their arms flail around, they still don’t have full control of their hands so it’s really easy for them to hit themselves in the face. Therefore, if one of their nails is just a touch too long, or has a sharp corner, before you know it, there’s an unsightly scratch on your baby's face to deal with.

Another reason, that we mentioned above, is baby eczema which your little one may scratch away at. Check out our guide to identify symptoms, causes and learn how to treat baby eczema.

“I do worry whether old ladies on the bus will judge me if my daughter has a wolverine scratch across her cheek,” says dad, Luke. “You feel like blurting out ‘It wasn't me! I watch her constantly!’ even though she looks like she's been in a scrappy street fight.”

Hopefully, your mind is at rest now you know potentially why your baby is scratching their face!

3. How do I get rid of scratches on my baby's face? Treating those baby face scratches.

As much as it fills us with horror to see even a trace of blood on our baby’s face, the NHS advise that most small cuts and grazes can usually be treated at home. Simply clean and cover, but avoid using cotton wool as the fluff can get stuck in the wound. WaterWipes are an alternative as they’re made from 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract and are as soft as cotton wool. They should heal by themselves in a matter of days.

Similarly, if you accidentally give their fingers a nip while trimming their nails, try not to panic. Just apply a clean baby wipe on the cut and apply a little pressure - the bleeding should soon stop.

4. After my baby scratches their face will it leave a scar?

They should heal by themselves in a matter of days and your baby's face will go back to normal. But remember, if your baby scratches their self or you scratch your baby's face - you’re not a terrible parent and it’s usually no reason to panic. If you are ever worried about a cut on your baby’s skin, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

If you found our baby face scratches article helpful, then why not check out our other articles on delicate baby skin over on Parenting Community:

where to buy

Find out where you can purchase WaterWipes baby wipes products online and in-store.

Down arrow

1) Baby Centre. How to trip you baby's nails. Available at: Last accessed 5th May 2021.

2) NHS. Cuts and grazes. Available at: Last accessed 5th May 2021.

let's stay in touch.

first name
last name
Please enter a valid email address

I confirm that I am over 16 years old and that I have reviewed and agree to the Terms and Conditions and have reviewed the Privacy Policy

Please tick here to confirm that you would like to receive e-mails from WaterWipes in relation to our products and any special offers or promotions which we may be running. You can withdraw your consent at any time by clicking the unsubscribe button in emails that you receive or contact us via [email protected].

Please fill in the Recaptcha