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


var ndList = elementNodeReference.childNodes; 

ndList is a NodeList, an ordered collection of DOM nodes that are children of the current element. If the element has no children, ndList is empty.


// 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

// 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


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.


See also

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 Last updated by: jackblackevo,