JavaScript’s Element.firstElementChild read-only property returns the Element’s first child element or null if the Element has no child elements.


An Element object or null if the element has no child elements.


Here is an example of using the firstElementChild property.

Consider the following lines of HTML:

<p id="paragraph">
 <span>I like learning <b>JavaScript</b> programming.</span>

If we run the following lines of JavaScript, what do you think will be logged to the console?

let paragraph = document.getElementById('paragraph');

The correct answer is “SPAN.” That is because the span element is the first – and last – child element of the p element, and we selected the p element by its id and logged the name of its first child element to the console.

What is the difference between firstElementChild and firstChild?

The Element.firstElementChild property is very similar to the Node.firstChild property. Their only difference is that the former ignores Comment and Text nodes and only returns Element nodes.

Browser compatibility

Internet Explorer
Chrome (Android)
Firefox (Android)
Opera (Android)
Safari (iOS)
Samsung Internet
WebView (Android)
firstElementChild 1 12 3.5 9 10 4 18 4 10.1 3 1.0 37

See also