product about thumb sucking

Products to Help Your Little One Stop Sucking Their Thumb

There are many products that help children stop sucking their thumb. Which product is the right one depends on the child, the age and how intensively and frequently the thumb is being sucked. 

How to Find the Right Product

If your child is at the very beginning of the weaning process, we recommend that you gently draw the child’s attention to thumb-sucking. This, if possible, without any negative connotations. You can start with a story, a good book (find our book reviews here) or a visit to the dentist. 

If this and maybe other things don’t work, don’t worry: Every child can learn to stop sucking their thumb. But be aware that for many children, breaking this habit is one of the biggest steps in their young life. This is especially true for those children who suck their thumb frequently and intensely.

You can find lots of products on Google and Amazon that promise helping to break the habit. But it’s not that easy to figure out which of them work and are safe for your child. We want to help you with this.

Don't Buy Cheap Products

We advise against cheap and noname products. That’s why you won’t find them in our review. Safety should be a top priority. It won’t help anyone if you look to much on the price and save a little but then have a struggle of several months with your child and their thumb-sucking. You should also be aware that a correction of misaligned teeth and jaw takes a long time and is very expensive.

Aid Categories

Every child is unqiue and needs a different aid, depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of the thumb-sucking habit. Therefore, we divided the products into differents categories:

  • If your child sucks their thumb only every now and then and mainly unconsciously, simple solutions may help. We summarised these products in the category simple aid. 
  • If the thumb is sucked frequently but your child is willing to break the habit and stops thumb-sucking after a soft reminder, a further aid is most likely to help.
  • If your child sucks their thumb intensely, frequently and can’t just do without in some situations, he or she will need a strong aid.

Simple Aid

Thumb-sucking often happens unconsciously and the following products can help children to realise that they are about to suck their thumb.

The use of these products is only successful if the child is willing to break the habit and the need isn’t that strong.

Paint Your Child's Thumb

Ideas how to stop thumb sucking

Painting or decorating your child’s thumb can help give their thumb an identity. You can draw a face, hair, and clothes on your child’s thumb using markers, pens, or Amazon. Make sure that you only use water-soluble and non-toxic pens or markers. You can find a large selection in any stationery shop or on Band-Aids.

It’s best to combine this with a nice story. More on this under: Giving the Thumb an Identity.

  • Pro: Cheap, simple and helpful in simple cases.
  • Con: Not more than a little nudge in the right direction

Nasty Tasting Nail Liquids

Available in every drugstore and on Amazon. The products have a very bitter taste. Most products are designed for older children and adults to prevent nailbiting. Very small children are usually not bothered by the taste or get quickly used to it. Furthermore, this technique doesn’t work if the thumb is mainly sucked during the night.

Make sure that the product is approved for use for your child’s age. Most products are suitable for children from the age of three.

  • Advantage: Cheap and easy to use. Can be supportive for older children who want to break the habit.
  • Disadvantage: Not very effective with younger children.

Further Aid

The following products may help if the child wants to break the habit but still struggles.

Thumb Gloves

Various designs are available on Amazon and online. This products can easily be pulled off by the child what is useful for daily activities like cleaning the hand or eating. But they only work if the child is very committed to stop. They do provide a good reminder for the child and help especially in the situation where the thumb, without any intention, gets to the mouth.

The most popular brands are Fingers&Thumbs® , Thumbsie & Glovey Huggey.

Fingers&Thumbs®

The company specializes in thumb and finger gloves made of fabric. They come in various colors and sizes. Whats unique about them is that they are made out of soft stretchy fabric and do not have any scratchy closing mechanism like Velcro or buttons. Make sure to check out the size guide.

They also do offer products for skin picking and compulsive hair pulling.

Price starts at £9.85, but it’s recommended to buy at least three, in order to have spares available if they need to get cleaned.

The product is available on the manufacturer’s page and on Amazon UK. The manufacturer offer free shipping in the UK and shipping to the EU for £4.25.

  • Advantage: Relatively cheap, easy to use, no closing mechanism like Velcro or buttons
  • Disadvantage: Can be pulled off if the urge to suck the thumb gets too strong.

Information about the manufacturer

Thumbsie

The company from England specializes in thumb gloves (also called thumb guards) and finger gloves made of fabric. You can select from a very large selection of fabrics and patterns. There are 5 different sizes and special packages available (e.g. a thumb glove with a book and a reward card). The thumb guard is suitable for boys and girls from the age of three years.

Simple models are available for under 10£. However, the manufacterer recommends buying at least 3 pieces, in case one needs washing. Larger packages cost up to 59.90£.

  • Advantage: Relatively cheap, easy to use, a lot of beautiful designs, washable.
  • Disadvantage: Can be pulled off if the urge to suck the thumb gets too strong.

Information about the manufacturer

Strong Aid

These products are meant for children who don’t want or can’t stop thumb-sucking on their own initiative. This has nothing to do with a weak character or lack of willpower. Rather, the need for the thumb is so much anchored in the child’s brain that it can’t be stopped that easily. Some children are simply not ready yet and need some more time for this developmental milestone. However, in order to prevent long-term damage to teeth and jaw, you shouldn’t wait too long. If in doubt, discuss the matter with your pediatrician or dentist. 

Some clues that show it's time to break the habit:
  • Child is older than 4 years of age (depending on the source 3-5 years)
  • Visible displacement of the front teeth
  • Very intense thumb-sucking
  • Very frequent thumb-sucking
  • Thumb-sucking day and night
  • Problems with the thumb (eczema, open spots, …)

The following products have the approach of stopping the habit until the child got used to it. It can be compared to weaning a child off the pacifier. Depending on the intensity and frequency of the pacifier or thumb-sucking habit it may lead to quite a bit of frustration and difficulties to fall asleep. However, this phase usually only lasts a few days. It is recommended to use the techniques for at least 3 weeks (day and night) and then for another week at night to make sure that the the habit is broken. Various studies give the method a very good success rate of over 90%. 

Timing and preparation help to get through the first few days as good as possible. Find a story for your child to be prepared for the weaning period. If you read with your child the story of Anna and Dedo: A Thumb Ventures Out (you can find our book reviews here), you can tell your child that you ordered an aid for Dedo (e.g. a superhero costume) 

  • Choose the right moment: Use a moment when your child and you as a parent have enough time, calm and nerves.  
  • Reward and positive reinforcement: Praise your child for every step they take in the right direction. A reward calendar is a nice way to do this. You can place a star on the reward calendar every day your child doesn’t suck his or her thumb. As soon as your child receives a predetermined number of stars, they get a reward. 
Success Rate

The aids in this category have a very good success rate (over 90%) in a rather short time (7-30 days, depending on the study). However, this only works if the child wears them all day and all night. If the child continues thumb-sucking only for a few minutes unobserved each day, it won’t work. It is therefore important that all the caregivers are informed and on the same page.  

Of course, the products are occasionally removed to wash hands or take a bath. Meanwhile your child should never be unobserved, especially during the first few days.  

Dr Thumb

Made from soft non toxic silicone, Dr Thumb fits over and securely fastens to the thumb of either hand. It does not restrict the child’s ability to play or cause any discomfort. Dr Thumb works by breaking the vacuum created when sucking a thumb. Ensuring a small gap between the child’s thumb and the guard, it allows air to flow making it impossible to suck. Whilst the child will still be able to put their thumb in their mouth, not having that sucking sensation will remove the child’s pleasure to the habit without creating any negative feelings. The habit is broken naturally and gently. 

Dr Thumb offers a 92% success rate with the habit often broken within as little as 2 weeks, although it is recommended to wear Dr Thumb day and night for a period of 4 weeks. 

The product is available in two sizes: Small to fit from 12-36 months and large for those aged 3 to 7 years. Dr Thumb fits both hands. 

Dr Thumb is available on the manufacturer’s page and on Amazon.com & Amazon.de

Further information and a free printable reward chart can be found on Dr Thumb’s web page. 

The silicone is relatively soft and comfortable to wear. It is 100% PBA free. It won’t restrict the ability to play, climb and draw or cause any discomfort. It is important to ensure that the straps aren’t tightened too much to not leave any marks on the hand. During the first few days you should regularly check the hand to prevent swelling and rubbing.

Dr Thumb offers various adjustment options to ensure a secure fit. Nevertheless, some older children may manage to get their thumbs out. Dr Thumb offers a video on the web page that runs through further adjustments that can be made to offer a secure, comfortable fit. We experienced that a plaster under the silicone cover may help as well. 

  • Advantage: Relatively cheap. Very effective when used correctly (sussess rate over 92%). Reusable straps.
  • Disadvantage: Some older children may manage to get their thumbs out. However, this can be prevented with a simple trick. 

Information about the manufacturer

TGuard (AeroThumb & AeroFinger)

The US manufacturer TGuard has a product against thumb-sucking and one against finger-sucking in its range.

  • AeroThumb
  • AeroFinger

In this review, we primarly focus on AeroThumb. This thumb-sucking guard made out of soft and flexible, medical grade plastic doesn’t prevent the thumb from going in the mouth, but it does prevent suction from forming, so there’s no longer any pleasure left in the habit. Without the pleasure, children have no incentive to continue. But the child can write, eat, and play while wearing the TGuard device. 

The protective cover is fixed with a colored lockband. The lockband can’t be opened by the child. The lockband can only be opened by cutting. Each AeroThumb kit contains 30 wristbands in various colors. Additional wristband can be bought in two quantities: either 30 or 60.

Several clinical studies, as well as TGuard’s own empirical evidence have demonstrated that their products stop thumb-sucking in over 95% of cases. Most children will see positive results within 7 days.

TGuards products are manufactured and assembled in the United States. All materials are 100% BPA-free and contain no harmful phtalates. Furthermore, the products are FDA-listed (FDA: Food and Drug Administration).

The product fits the left and right hand and comes in three sizes (small, medium, large). There is also a version for fingers. Most children switch from one thumb to the other, when the TGuard is applied. For that reason, the manufacturer recommend purchasing two treatment kits, one for each hand.

The product is available directly from the manufacturer for 59.80 USD or on Amazon for 69.90 USD. A kid contains one Aerothumb appliance, 30 bracelets, one Instalock, one set of instructions, reward chart and stickers. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee for costumers from the US.   

  • Advantage: It has a success rate greater than 95%.
  • Disadvantage: The lockband must be cut and it needs a new one every day. 

Information about the manufacturer

Kidshandaid

Product to treat thumb sucking

Just like Dr Thumb and TGuard, the product Kidshandaid tries to prevent sucking on the finger or thumb. However, it’s not made of plastic but a soft, extremely flexible and breathable material. A behavioral aversion strip keeps the thumb/ fingers out and away of the mouth.

The handaid is costum made to the size of any hand and can be modified to address the child’s individual, unique habit. A simple scan or photo of the hand is all the manufacturer needs. This probably makes it the most comfortable product to wear.

Furthermore, the Handaid has a patented child-proof closure system that prevents the child from removing the Handaid on their own. But it doesn’t impede the use of the child’s hand. It has been designed to be as flexible as the child’s hand.

Kidshandaid has a very high success rate of 99%.

The product is available directly from the manufacturer for 159 USD (free shipping worldwide). Two costum made thumb handaids are included in this price.

Kidshandaid gives a money back guarantee. Any request for a refund must be made within ten days of receiving the handaid and Kidshandaid reserves the right to solve whatever problems you may be having with the Handaid.

There are more products: A Finger Handaid for 299 USD and a Combination Handaid for 399 USD.

  • Advantage: Costum made to the size of the child’s hand. Very high success rate of 99%. Safe, comfortable and durable. Money back guarantee.
  • Disadadvantage: More expensive than other products.

Information about the manufacturer

Nipit Hand Stopper

Prevents thumb-sucking by restricting the movement of the arm. It is suitable for children from 2 to 7 years. The range of motion of the elbow is limited to 100%. The child can still play and reach their face, but no longer suck the thumb comfortably. This makes the product suitable for thumb and finger suckers.

The manufacturer doesn’t provide any information on the success rate, but states that a duration of 5-21 days is required to break the habit. Unfortunately, there are no comparative studies. 

The product is available directly from the manufacturer (recommended for costumers from the USA) for 39.95 USD for one Hand Stopper and 69.95 USD for a pack of two or on Amazon (recommended for costumers outside the USA).

The manufacturer gives a 30- day satisfaction guarantee.

  • Advantage: Relatively cheap. The hand remains free. Suitable for thumb and finger.
  • Kontra: The movement of the arm is limited. No information on success rate.

Information about the manufacturer

Comparison

Each of the presented products has got its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Dr Thumb offers the best value for money. The only negative thing is that some older children may cheat their way out, but this can be prevented with a little trick.
  • TGuard has solid and proven products that are safe and successful. The product price is reasonable. Only disadvantage: Additional wristbands are pricey.
  • Kidshandaid is the leader among the products when it comes to comfort and reliability. However, this shows in the high price.
  • Nipit is the only product attached to the arm and not the hand. It’s cheap compared to other products. Unfortunately, there is no reliable data on its effectiveness.

Conclusion

Each child can stop sucking their thumb. Some do it spontaneously as the get older, others need more support. We are convinced: There is a suitable solution for every child.

More Information About Thumb-Sucking

Much more information about thumb-sucking can be found here. Our most recommended children’s books about thumb-sucking can be found in the book review.

Overview

Children Book Review

Self-Help Book Review

Side Note

We tried to review all suitable and safe products. Do you know any other products that should be included in our list? Or do you have any experiences with one of the products? Please let us know. Write us. We’d love to make this website interactive and share our reader’s experiences and knowledge.