The ParentNode.childElementCount read-only property returns an unsigned long representing the number of child elements of the given element.

This property was initially defined in the ElementTraversal pure interface. As this interface contained two distinct set of properties, one aimed at Node that have children, one at those that are children, they have been moved into two separate pure interfaces, ParentNode and ChildNode. In this case, childElementCount moved to ParentNode. This is a fairly technical change that shouldn't affect compatibility.


var count = node.childElementCount;
holds the return value an unsigned long (simply an integer) type.
is an object representing a Document, DocumentFragment or Element.


var foo = document.getElementById("foo"); 
if (foo.childElementCount > 0) { 
    // do something

Polyfill for IE8 & IE9 & Safari

This property is unsupported prior to IE9, and also in IE9 & Safari Document, DocumentFragment objects don't have it.

;(function(constructor) {
    if (constructor &&
        constructor.prototype &&
        constructor.prototype.childElementCount == null) {
        Object.defineProperty(constructor.prototype, 'childElementCount', {
            get: function() {
                var i = 0, count = 0, node, nodes = this.childNodes;
                while (node = nodes[i++]) {
                    if (node.nodeType === 1) count++;
                return count;
})(window.Node || window.Element);


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'ParentNode.childElementCount' in that specification.
Living Standard Split the ElementTraversal interface in ChildNode and ParentNode. This method is now defined on the latter.
The Document and DocumentFragment implemented the new interfaces.
Element Traversal Specification
The definition of 'ElementTraversal.childElementCount' in that specification.
Obsolete Added its initial definition to the ElementTraversal pure interface and use it on Element.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (on Element) 1.0 3.5 (1.9.1) 9.0 10.0 4.0
Support on Document and DocumentFragment 29.0 25.0 (25.0) No support 16.0 No support
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (on Element) (Yes) 1.0 (1.9.1) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Support on Document and DocumentFragment (Yes) 25.0 (25.0) No support 16.0 No support


See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: k-gun,