Three thumb guard myths that may surprise you



Nature vs. Nurture -The Thumb Sucking Debate. Part Two


  • You may have heard claims that it is cruel to put a thumb guard on your child. Perhaps you have been informed that thumb guards can injure a child's mouth or make their hand sore?


The rumor stems from memories of a somewhat severe-looking device used in the 1930s. The Baby Alice Thumb Guard, worn strapped to the hand, held the thumb rigid. When the baby attempted to suck their thumb, they received a mouthful of wire instead of comfort. Clearly, the experience would not have been pleasant, and by the standards of today, you might consider the appliance to be barbaric.


Most thumb guards today, however, are made of soft, comfortable fabrics. Our thumb and finger guards are individually made to the particular specifications of your child. The outer wrapping is made from colorful cotton or polycotton materials (we have several designs for your child to choose from). The inner lining is made from soft jersey or stretchable type fabrics that adds strength to the guard without compromising comfort. We also offer a choice of fastenings so you can select the most suitable for your child's needs.


  • Perhaps you have heard that thumb guards can be removed by children, proving that they are useless and cannot perform the task they were created for?


The truth is that, yes, thumb guards can, under normal circumstances, be removed by children. In fact, they are designed to be removable. Thumb guards are intended to help children who have made their own decision to end their sucking habit. Therefore we believe it is equally important to create guards that children can use without assistance.


By five years old, children are developing the skills required to perform daily tasks independently. Many will fiercely defend their right to do so. For some tasks, however, such as using the bathroom, although the guards are washable,  it is not appropriate to wear one.


If your child has to keep asking for their guard's removal, this removes part of their independence. This may lead them to view the guard as a restriction rather than an aid. Thumb guards are not a punishment for thumb sucking; therefore, it is important that your child does not begin to view them as such.


Having said that, we recognize that there are times when it is necessary for parents to make the decision to end or reduce a sucking habit on behalf of their child. Our guards can be worn by any age. They are also suitable for children and adults with special needs, as well as babies with sucking blisters.


We cannot guarantee your child will not remove our products under these circumstances, however. In truth, since they are not able to make the decision for themselves, very young children and children with disabilities are more likely to attempt removal.  You can reduce the likelihood of this by choosing the fastening your child is least likely to undo. A two-year-old will quickly master a velcro fastening but is less likely to manage a snap or button. We can also attach a buckle clip for a small additional cost.


  • Are you concerned that a thumb guard will prevent your child from playing?


Thumb guards neither restrict the movement of a child's arm or their hand and fingers.  The guards simply cover the thumb and are held in place by fastening across the lower palm and around the wrist. With all movements uncompromised, your child will, therefore, be able to participate in most activities while continuing to wear their thumb guard.


Interestingly, many parents and carers, who have tried our product on their children, report that the guard actually helps their child participate more fully. This is because they now have two hands available,  rather than having one otherwise occupied within their mouth.


In conclusion


Far from being an uncomfortable, cruel restraint, that will restrict your child’s daily activities, thumb guards are a gentler way to help children stop thumb sucking independently.


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