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Thumb Sucking

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking is a way for your child to soothe himself or herself. Your child may be hungry, tired, unhappy, or bored. Stressful events, such as a new baby or a divorce, can cause your child to suck his or her thumb. Your child may have long-term problems if he or she continues to suck his or her thumb past the age of 4 years.

How can I help my child stop thumb sucking?

Ignore your child's thumb sucking if it is not causing other problems. Your child may stop on his or her own. Do not punish your child. This will make the problem worse. Reward your child when you see that he or she is not sucking his or her thumb.

How is thumb sucking treated?

Treatment works best if your child tells you he or she wants to stop. If your child is older than 4 years of age, he or she may need any of the following:

Where can I find more information?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.