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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 elCount = elementNodeReference.childElementCount; 

Polyfill for Internet Explorer 8

This property is unsupported prior to IE9, so the following snippet can be used to add support to IE8:

// Source:
if(!("childElementCount" in document.documentElement)){
    Object.defineProperty(Element.prototype, "childElementCount", {
        get: function(){
            for(var c = 0, nodes = this.children, n, i = 0, l = nodes.length; i < l; ++i)
                (n = nodes[i], 1 === n.nodeType) && ++c;
            return c;

Polyfill for Internet Explorer 9+ and Safari

// Source:
(function (arr) {
  arr.forEach(function (item) {
    if (item.hasOwnProperty('childElementCount')) {
    Object.defineProperty(item, 'childElementCount', {
      configurable: true,
      enumerable: true,
      get: function () {
        var el = this.firstChild,
          count = 0;
        while (el) {
          if (el.nodeType === 1) {
          el = el.nextSibling
        return count;
      set: undefined
})([Element.prototype, Document.prototype, DocumentFragment.prototype]);


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.
Recommendation 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: jszhou,