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The Node.childNodes read-only property returns a live NodeList of child nodes of the given element where the first child node is assigned index 0.

Syntax

var nodeList = elementNodeReference.childNodes; 

Examples

Simple usage

// parg is an object reference to a <p> element

// First check that the element has child nodes 
if (parg.hasChildNodes()) {
  var children = parg.childNodes;

  for (var i = 0; i < children.length; i++) {
    // do something with each child as children[i]
    // NOTE: List is live, adding or removing children will change the list
  }
}

Remove all children from a node

// This is one way to remove all children from a node
// box is an object reference to an element

while (box.firstChild) {
    //The list is LIVE so it will re-index each call
    box.removeChild(box.firstChild);
}

Notes

The items in the collection of nodes are objects and not strings. To get data from node objects, use their properties (e.g. elementNodeReference.childNodes[1].nodeName to get the name, etc.).

The document object itself has 2 children: the Doctype declaration and the root element, typically referred to as documentElement. (In (X)HTML documents this is the HTML element.)

childNodes includes all child nodes, including non-element nodes like text and comment nodes. To get a collection of only elements, use ParentNode.children instead.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
DOM
The definition of 'Node.childNodes' in that specification.
Living Standard No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node.childNodes' in that specification.
Obsolete No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node.childNodes' in that specification.
Obsolete No change
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification
The definition of 'Node.childNodes' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
childNodesChrome Full support YesEdge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes

Legend

Full support  
Full support

See also