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Compare Anti-Thumb Sucking Devices

As we all know, thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, dummies or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world, then as they grow and get older they continue to suck to help sooth themselves, or to help them fall asleep.

As we have explained in our problems with thumb sucking page, there can be many problems associated with thumb and finger sucking so as a parent/carer we can see why you are keen to get some help.

We have researched the market to compare anti-thumb sucking devices that are available to you, to save you time. Here are the most common solutions that parents try.

Plasters and Bandaging

Many parents try their own “DIY” devices by putting plasters on the thumb or wrapping bandaging around it.

Disadvantage:  It must be hard to make it comfortable, they can get dirty and not able to be washed. It can work out expensive if used over a long period of time. The child can’t take it off themselves and is always relying on the parent to put it back on, making them less independent.

Advantage:No need to buy from the internet!

Fabric Thumb Guard with Velcro

Colourful fun fabric thumb guard that fits like a glove over the thumb and is secured around the wrist with Velcro.

Disadvantage:You need to take a measurement of your child’s thumb to see which of the 5 sizes would fit better as an anti-thumb sucking device.

Advantage:As it doesn’t cover all the hand it allows full movement, this means it should not restrict the child’s ability to play or cause any discomfort. It acts as a reminder to the child not to thumb suck. It comes in five different sizes so fits really well. Suitable for ages as young as 3 years old up to teenagers. It comes in over 30 different fun fabrics so there is something for every child. The branded fabric thumb guard is handmade in the UK and made of cotton so can be easily washed by hand or machine. Reasonably priced and discounts are offered for more than one. You can buy a bundle including a reward chard packs and a children’s book ‘Thumbs up for Ted’s Thumbsie’ to help make it a positive experience. Available in fabric thumb guards and finger guards. Once the child has stopped sucking a personalised certificate is offered free of charge to make the child proud and feel special.

Here’s some great testimonials from parents who purchased fabric thumb guards.

Thank you very much! My daughter Grace 7y.. Has stop sucking her thumb… She has done it all her life … We were not very convinced by these, we just gave it a go and ….. Ha, surprise surprise it worked.  We are so grateful!! What an amazing product!!

She has been wearing her fabric thumb guards for ten days now and my husband and I are blown away with how successful they have been. I never thought it could be this easy. She hasn’t sucked her thumb since putting one on, despite being a prolific thumb sucker since she was 5 weeks old – she is now 5! I am so proud of her, especially as it took me until I was 11 to stop sucking mine! The transformation has been wonderful to watch, she is much more engaged in family life and seems much happier and more up for trying new things. We have a different child!

Thumb Glove with Buttons

These are stretchy fabric gloves that fit over the majority of the hand including the thumb. They come in different colours and have an adjustable strap.

Disadvantage: They come in pairs so can be quite expensive.  The branded distributor is outside the UK. These thumb gloves cover the whole hand so more noticeable and may possibly get in the way. They can be pulled off like a pair of socks.

Advantage: Available in different styles so will appeal to children. They are comfortable to wear so can be worn during child’s normal daytime activities. Available in thumb and finger guards.

Nasty Tasting Nail Liquid

One option could be painting on nasty tasting nail liquid, this is most commonly used to help stop biting nails. I’ve tried this with my nails but it never seems to deter me, it just makes all the food that I eat with my fingers (so mainly treats like crisps and chocolate) taste disgusting.

Disadvantage:This nasty tasting liquid does eventually wash off and once you get used to the taste or have sucked it off it doesn’t actually stop the child from sucking their thumb. Might be harmful to sensitive skin. Doesn’t feel a very kind or positive approach to stop thumb sucking.

Advantage: Relatively inexpensive if they give up thumb sucking quickly. Can easily carry on with their normal activities, apart from eating with their fingers! Can work on thumbs and fingers.

Plastic Thumb Guard

Made from soft flexible plastic, this anti-thumb sucking device fits over and securely fastens to the thumb of either hand. It works by breaking the vacuum created when sucking the thumb. Ensuring a small gap between the child’s thumb and the guard, it allows air to flow making it impossible to suck. The child will still be able to put their thumb in their mouth but not have the ‘sucking sensation’.

Disadvantage: It needs to be secured by an adult and cannot be removed by the child when they want to wash their hands. The child can loose their feeling of independence. Quite expensive, starting prices from £25 each. Some require you to purchase additional bracelets too for each day they are worn.

Advantage:Has a good proven track record. Available in thumb and finger guards.

Cutting off the thumbs off normal gloves

Another home remedy is to cut off the thumbs of the child’s own gloves or mittens.

Disadvantage:Not sure these are not very comfortable wear, can be really hot in the summer and quite tricky to get on with the things they want to do during the day.

Advantage:Can be washed, can have several pairs and can be bought fairly inexpensive.

The Hand Stopper Thumb Guard

Suitable for children aged 2 – 7 years. They fit over the elbow and are secured on with velcro, the child can not suck their thumb as they can not bend their elbow enough to reach. Costs around £45-50 for one.

Disadvantage: The child can’t really move their hands. They are really restrictive and could be seen as a punishment. It also looks very uncomfortable, especially to wear at night.

Advantage: Hands are free to wash them without removing the device. Children can still move their fingers and thumbs but will not be able to reach to put them in their mouth.

Crochet Thumb Guard

Made from wool, these thumb guards come in a range of colours and sold in America. They slip over the hand and cover just the thumb.

Disadvantage:Only a few colours. Made of wool so might be hot in the summer, they look uncomfortable to wear and may possibly be itchy. As they are wool they might stretch and could be difficult to wash, although claim to be ok to hand wash. They can work out quite expensive if you are in the UK.

Advantage: Handmade. Available in thumb and finger guards.

As you can see, there are actually lots of ways to stop digit sucking. We hope that this review of the market will help you in your decision. However please note that success is not guaranteed with any of the solutions.

In doing this research it has made us more convinced that the Thumbsie® fabric thumb guard is a fun and positive approach to thumb sucking. The parents’ testimonials and some of the success stories on the blog pages that are on the website tell us that its’ often a happy experience for both parent and child. The children love the different fabrics and often get involved in choosing their own anti-thumb sucking device. How lovely to be able to get a personalised success certificate for your child once they have stopped the habit!

Multi-award winning Thumbsie® was created from a real need when Jo Bates’s, founder Thumbsie Ltd, third daughter Isabel needed help to stop thumb sucking!

What is a thumb sucking glove?
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