JavaScript - get first child text

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In this article, we would like to show you how to select first child and get its text in JavaScript.

Quick solution:

// get first child element by id
var firstChild = document.querySelector('#myList').firstChild;

// get first child text
var firstChildText = firstChild.innerHTML;


Practical example

In this example, we will select the first child from myList using firstChild property. Then using innerHTML property we will get the text contained within the first child element.

Runnable example:

// ONLINE-RUNNER:browser;

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <p>My list:</p>
    <ul id="myList"><li>🍏 Apple</li>
      <li>🍌 Banana</li>
      <li>🍊 Orange</li>
      <li>🍇 Grapes</li>
      <li>🍒 Cherry</li>
    <button onclick="getFirstChildText()">Get first child elements text</button>
      function getFirstChildText() {
        var firstChild = document.querySelector('#myList').firstChild; // get first child
        var firstChildText = firstChild.innerHTML; // get first child text


For the getFirstChildText() function to work properly, there must be no whitespace characters at the start of myList (space, newline, etc.)

It means even the <li> opening tag must be at the start, right after the <ul id="myList"> tag.

Alternative titles

  1. JavaScript - select first child
  2. JavaScript - get first child inner HTML
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