Experts at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead are warning parents and carers to dissuade their children from having acrylic nails.
The warning comes in the lead up to Christmas, when children are off on their school holidays for the party season.
Hospital staff said the paediatric ward saw a significant rise in the number of admission for children aged 12 years and under from Sussex, Surrey and Kent this summer.
They sustained traumatic and painful nail bed injuries as a result of either catching the artificial nails whilst playing, or trapping their fingers in doors due to the length of the nail.
According to the hospital, children managed to rip off their own nail underneath, requiring them to have surgery to repair the damaged nail bed.
Nora Nugent, consultant plastic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital, said:
“Repairing a damaged nail bed when the nail has been traumatically removed requires a surgical procedure.
“Once the nail bed has been repaired and any nail remnants removed, the patient has to have a dressing in place for two weeks to help maximise the chances of a new nail growing successfully, but there are no guarantees.”
Experts said children will be less likely to be conscious of minding their nails during play.
Ms Nugent added:
“We would advise children to use nail varnish in place of artificial nails – it is much safer, can be just as fun and colourful, and save them from potentially having an operation.”