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toddler sucking thumb and picking face
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toddler sucking thumb and picking face

i am at the end of my rope w/my 2 year old daughter's problem and i'm hoping, hoping, hoping that someone can help.  the problem:  she is a major thumb sucker, which is fine.  but recently she started to touch/rub/pick her forehead (and cheeks) with her index finger while sucking her thumb.  it's gotten so bad that she has terrible red bumps and scabs all over her forehead!!  she is the most adorable little thing and this is just breaking my heart!  i'm so afraid of scarring...etc.  i have tried everything... bandaids on her head worked for a short period of time until she figured out that she could just pull them off.  i also tried them on her fingers but she just pulls them off when she is alone in her crib which is when she does the most damage. i tried mittens w/string and tied them around her wrists but she just sat there in her crib and yanked and yanked at them until eventually she was able to pull them off.  of course i can't tie them too tight b/c of circulation.  

has anyone ever had a similar problem or heard of someone w/a similar problem who figured out a solution?  by the way, my dr. is no help.  i have an appointment w/ a dermatologist but i'm sure she will provide solutions for clearing up the skin not preventing it from happening which is the problem.  i'm so upset about this and don't know what to do.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I did the very same thing at that age - except for me,  I scratched little scabby places in my nose.

My parents kept that one fingernail cut REALLY REALLY short and that worked.  She'll outgrow it.  ;D
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13167_tn?1327197724
It sounds like you're going to have to be creative and come up with a clothing device that covers her hand.  My oldest son,  when he was about 10 months old would take off his diaper and paint with poop.  On his walls,  his crib,  whatever.  I had to create an outfit that he couldn't get out of.  It's not difficult at all,  they're little and we're smarter.  ;D

Could you get a very small little white dress glove,  and a cotton (not stretchable) shirt for her that buttons in the back,  and stitch them together?  You might even have to somehow attach  pants,  especially with difficult buttons in the back,  to the shirt.    That way you'd have a one piece outfit with a glove tightly sewn on that keeps her from putting her thumb in her mouth and scratching her face.    Maybe you could get her some jelly squishy ball to squeeze in bed that might comfort her during the time.

You'd only need one outfit - you could wash it every day for a week,  and at the end of the week she'd be broken of the habit.  

(I also had to construct my own cabinet locks,  there is nothing on the market that would keep my son out.  Amazing what you can create when you put your mind to it.)

Best wishes.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for your response.  she's only 2, this can't go on for another year or however long it will take for her to outgrow it.  the damage will be lifelong... it's that bad.  it's almost her entire face (and her arm, i left that part out).  we do keep her nails as short as possible but it has not helped.  she just keeps rubbing and rubbing and somehow is still able to pick.  ugh!!  my daugher is very persistent!  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, my 3 year old also is a serious thumb sucker and while she sucks her thumb she picks her chest..she has scabs, scars, and sores all over her chest!  She ususally works on only one sore at a time...but they look pretty bad.  We have not found a way to stop it yet...she seems to do it when she is anxious or upset or even bored.  pediatrician said don't worry about it and ignore it--but I can't as she is scarring up her body!  If you figure anything out, please let me know.  in the meantime, I am requesting an OT evaluation to see if it is some kind of sensory issue.
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is a year and a half, he started getting these little bumps which at first looked like bug bites, then, to my horror they just kept getting larger and were mostly on his feet, legs and one on his hand.  I took him to the doctor for a second time only to be told that it was most likely viral and to keep them covered and they gave us a script.  They suggested a dermatologist if they didn't get better or if he continued to get more.  They did get better and he didn't get anymore, as long as we could keep them covered that is.  We have to keep pants on him constantly or he will pick them until they bleed and we've gotten several of them to the point where they are almost non existent and then he'll start picking at them and they turn into huge scabs again.  He even picks them through his pants, we live in TX and it is getting hot, I hate to put him to bed with pants on and to send him outside with pants on, but I don't know what else to do anymore.  I'm at my wits end, we have another Dr's appointment, should I be worried???
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Avatar_n_tn
My 4 1/2 year old daughter ***** her thumb and picks her face at the same time.  We also covered the soars up with Band-Aids until they healed.  We have tried covering her thumb with Band-Aids (she pulls them off), soft things to hold, mittens with the thumb cut out, even sugarless gum - nothing works.  Like you we are very worried and heart broken about the scaring.  She does this out of comfort - she is a thumb junkie.  We have made great progress by insenting her to stop.  Our Dr. suggested to stop her from sucking her thumb with positive reinforcement.  We have made great progress with insenting and a team approach (we’re in it together).  We created a thumb chart she gets a sticker after every timed 1/2 hour to an hour of not sucking her thumb.  After 5 stickers she gets a prize (dollar store pick ups).  We also try to avoid situations when she is more likely to suck, like TV time, or commute to work.  When we cannot avoid the situations we give her something that will keep her hands busy – leapster, coloring, even holding a stuffed animal.  I have also been successful by offering her a reward for her progress.  We actually got her to stop sucking her thumb at night by “making a deal”.  We were in the Disney store shopping for a birthday party – she wanted the Kah the snake.  I told her if she stopped sucking her thumb at night I would buy him.  We did have to reminder her to stop occasionally by mentioning Kah, but she did and after 2 weeks we purchased the stuffed animal.  This is an ongoing battle, but we are taking it in baby steps.  It can get frustrating and draining, but hang in there.  There is hope.
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484465_tn?1347117312
to all

didnt see it mentioned, but when my son at age 2 yrs. began to suck his thumb daily, i bought this nail polish solution over the net called Madela Stop or something like that that produced the nastiest, most bitter taste and it worked (stopped the sucking) after just two weeks of applying it every 2 days.  it helps with nail biters as well
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Avatar_f_tn
my 21/2 year old grandson picks at his face he will pick a hole and won"t leave it alone we are also concerned about scaring, we dont know how to stop him. thanks for any ideas
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Avatar_n_tn
My 2 1/2 year old daughter has this picking issue as well. She's already left two scars on her face, three on her arm and one on her leg.  She is actually at it again tonight and has created a huge hole across her entire chin. I took her to the doctor last week for this.  he first said that we needed to be careful as staf infection is rampant in these type of cases. So he gave us a script for a save - which is helping the healing -- but unfortunately does nothing to stop it. He also gave us a script for a drug called Atarax.  I guess its just suppose to calm her enough so she goes to sleep at night instead of lying in bed and picking at her face/arms/legs.  She's taken it twice.  First night it worked -- tonight it did not. I've been reading about another drug for this called Revia - but don't know the side effects.  Info online is saying that this picking could be an early symptom of OCD or anxiety - which shocks me as she's only 2 and stays home with me all day. I'm not sure what she would be anxious about.  we've tried punishment (naughty corner) and rewards to get her to stop - nothing is helping.  She is a truly adorable girl and it is killing me to just watch her damage her face and arms by picking. it's almost like she is obilivious to doing it - I don't think she's trying to "act out" -- I think she truly goes into a zoned out kind of state and then works her sores over by picking them.  She is a thumb sucker as well -- I've never thought that has anything to do w/this until I read the earlier threads.  It is just disturbing that she is not bothered by the blood - she's ruining her clothes, bedding and worst of all her own body.  If anyone knows of anything that has worked -- I would love to know.
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Avatar_m_tn
My 2 and half year old daughter is pickin her foot and thumb. She does it when she's bored, tired or even just sitting there reading a book with me. We've tried everything you've tried also, nothing seems to work. I haven't brought her into the Dr yet, but I've threatened it a few times. I don't know what to do and that is why I'm researching it. You said its an early symptom of OCD, I'm gonna have to do some reading on that now. Thats kind of worrisome! Let me know if you have any progress with your daughter. Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
wow this is crazy how many people have these issues? Why & how to stop is the question though. My 4 yr old has always been a thumb sucker she needs it to relax, so really not that worried on how to stop her, bc the bigger problem is the fact that she picks her head to the scalp. She use to twirl her hair, there were times her fingers would turn purple bc the hair was to tight before she could even talk. But ever since she started school last sept just turning 3, she started picking her head. Honestly doesnt sound as bad as face, but brings me back to why? Also my pedi said she will out grow it. Its been a yr now & it started in one spot which is bald & bloody, but it has now become all over her head.  I also worry about high tolerance to pain if she trys to pick my head it hurts. She has tryed on her own to stop sucking her thumb, but i see her at the playground just picking without thumb in mouth. Guessing she doesnt want the thumb in her ,outh in front of other kids, wish she would feel that why about picking! if anyone has answers please get back to me! thx to all, sorry were all dealing with this, sorry to say its been a year for me & only getting worse.
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter is just over three. She is a skin picker. It started when she was about 1 1/2 and got a rash around her mouth. She would rub the bumps with her fingers while she fell asleep. Now she picks spots on her face all the time. While I am driving, while she is drawing, while she falls asleep, when she is in new situations. I know it is a form of self soothing (she never sucked her thumb or used a pacifier) She always has bandaids on both cheeks, which causes more irritation. I can't help but feel self conscience around people when they ask about the bandaids, and I don't know what to say about them. She already has some scars on her cheeks, and I feel so guilty about it. I feel like I should have done more to stop it when it started. There is no way to convince a child that age to stop these habits with negotiation. I am wondering if I need to seek professional help for this problem. Her pediatrician  said it was almost impossible to break this habit, and none of her doctors have ever tried to offer a solution outside of bandaids and gloves. Does anyone have a realistic solution to this problem?
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to suck my thimb and pick up until i was 2 and my mom started putting my stuffed bear in bed with me at night. It had a tail and a tag and between rubbing those two things along with the thumb in my mouth i just stopped,

On another note my neice is 4 and she loves to pick at her scabs, if she falls and skins her knee a few days later she will come to me bleeding. I started a reward system to get her to stop for every week she goes without picking her scabs (she is 4 and kind of clumsy) I give her a new puzzle.
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter is 3 1/2 yrs, and started sucking her thumb when my mother in law kept her for a week while my husband and I went on a trip when she was 2yrs old. She was still on the bottle and would occasionally suck her finger, well grandma couldn't stand the fact that she still had a bottle, I said she will give it up when she's ready! Instead, grandma took it upon herself to take her bottle away while we were gone, and that's where the thumb sucking started. She had already began to wen herself of the bottle before we left. Now a year and a half later we are dealing with a child who ***** her thumb and picks her face to the point that she has scaring, sores and red bumps on her cheeks. I am so heart broken because she is destroying her skin, I don't know what to do! Doctor's give a cream, say she"ll quit picking when she quits sucking her thumb,that could be years!!. What can I do?? I read that it could be a form of OCD, I will not have my child drugged for this, there has to be something else!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a very similar problem with my 3 year old son. He ***** his thumb and picks his face mostly while he is sleeping. I have tried the band-aid thing cutting his nails really short and reward system.. nothing is working. This didn't work for me but it might work for some of you. I used puffy paint to make spots on the face of one of my sons stuffed animals. I would send it to bed with him and told him if he wants to pick at something to pick at the stuffed animals face and not his. He now sleeps with that stuffed animal every night but he is still picking. I am at my wits end on what to do. The pediatrician was not very helpful. I am glad I am not alone in this. It is embarassing when people are always asking me what happened to his face. if anyone has any other ideas please let me know. Thanks!
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1801781_tn?1410753824
this is a pretty old thread.  Go up to the top of the page...click on the orange ask a question button to start a new thread.  Your post won't be missed this way and others can see and help.
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Avatar_m_tn
i am having the same problem with my 3 year old son. he has scabs all over that he keeps picking. i have tried covering his hands. dr sent us to dermatologist. she said it was behavorial and he had eczema. he has no other signs of eczema and he only picks when alone or when he is upset. i am at a loss as well. but will be praying for your family and will update if i find any other info
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I'm going through the same thing with my 2 1/2 year old boy. Since we say him in ultrasound he was sucking his left hand two middle fingers! He actually bends them backwards to get them in his mouth. It had never been an issue for us, but lately he has started to continually rub his cheek with his index finger at night and in the morning wakes up with blisters and soars. I cut his nails averyday but now the skin is too irritated and the continuous rubbing doesn't help. I've tried band aids and he takes them off right away, I've tried covering the area but he takes that off. I've just ordered a Tguard which I've heard is really good. I didn't want to take his comfort away like that, but this is affecting his health and I'm afraid he will cause an infection. This afternoon I put too mittens on him and secured them at the rist with medical tape. I made two wholes so that he could have access to the fingers he ***** and covered the area he picks at witha a band aid and he cried and complained in his crib but is now asleep. This is my temporary solution until I get the tguard on the mail. Hope you're able to find a solution and please post your progress. Just know that you're not alone!
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6039637_tn?1378579991
I feel your pain my 2 yr old grandson I have4 custody of picks at his face til he makes sore all over his face I took him to the dermatologist they said he had staff and to give him a bleach bath yes 1cup of bleach to a tub of water she said its like chlorine in a pool put him on an antibiotic and some salve to rub on the spots it worked and went a way but when it was all gone he is now picking and making new sores so im at wits end he to is adorable blonde white hair with blue eyes and long thick eyelashes he was excepted to do modeling but I don't want to do it til his face clears up if you find something out at your dr let me know wishing you the best
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5549102_tn?1376526273
Try gloves. Fix them so that she can't pull them off. Explain why she is wearing them and can't remove them until she stops picking at her face and thumb sucking.
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