A child removing just their thumb from the device usually means that the instalock is not positioned properly through the 2 long extensions (the tightness of the bracelet is used only to prevent the entire device from coming off). Although the instructions mention that you should try to match the numbers (such as 2-2), some children can be in between sizes, in which case it may help to use different numbers (such as 2-3). In order to position the tube as low as possible on the thumb, you must choose a higher set of numbers. For example, 3-3 or 2-3 will seat the tube lower on the thumb than a position like 1-1 or 1-2. If the tube does not sit as low as possible, the child will have an easier time getting their thumb out. Before you secure the bracelet, pull the entire appliance down, so that the tube sits as low as possible on the thumb. Secure the bracelet on the thinnest part of the wrist, as tight as possible without cutting circulation (i.e. there should be some slack). Make sure that the red instalock is positioned on the thinnest part of the wrist, not on the hand. The bracelet should go around the wrist as well, not the hand. If you have adjusted correctly, you will notice the following:
- The tube covering the thumb does not move when pulled.
- The child’s hand is not contorted: meaning the tightness does not deform the child’s hand.
IMPORTANT: NEVER ASK THE CHILD IF THEY CAN REMOVE THE DEVICE, OR ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU. Allowing the child to try to remove the device is encouraging a behavior that they can do later on by themselves. Children should be discouraged from trying to remove the device at all times.
If, after ensuring that the device has been adjusted properly, your child can still remove their thumbs, then you can try the following ideas, which all attempt to prevent the thumb from bending. Wrap several layers of non-stretching medical tape around the thumb knuckle, underneath the tube, then the TGuard can be placed over this. If your child can still bend their thumbs, place a popsicle stick / tongue depressor on the thumb before wrapping it with non-stretching medical tape. Then, the TGuard can be placed over this. Such an assembly will create a makeshift splint, which fully prevents the thumb from bending.
If the child can remove the FingerGuard, the first step is to ensure that the device has been adjusted properly. Begin by choosing a set of holes higher up on the extension, closer to the tubes, to thread the bracelet through. Pull down the entire appliance, so that the tubes sit as low as possible on the hand without causing discomfort. It is important that the bracelet is wrapped around the thinnest part of the wrist, just under the hand.
IMPORTANT: NEVER ASK THE CHILD IF THEY CAN REMOVE THE DEVICE, OR ASK THEM TO SHOW YOU. Allowing the child to try to remove the device is encouraging a behavior that they can do later on by themselves. Children should be discouraged from trying to remove the device at all times. If the child can still remove their fingers, we would recommend one additional step: thread an additional bracelet around the hand, above the thumb, and closer to the tubes. Sometimes, when children bend their fingers forward, it can cause the palm side flap to bend outwards. When it does that, the child has a bit more space to wiggle their fingers out, and by threading an additional bracelet, this flap does not bend outward anymore which prevents the child from being able to remove the device.
If after making these adjustments the child can still remove the FingerGuard, please contact us.
Our products are designed to be as comfortable and non-inhibiting as possible. If you are experiencing any sort of redness, irritation, or other medical issue, it is imperative that you first find out the cause and make necessary corrections before continuing with treatment. Normal use of the device should not cause any skin conditions.
Rash-like symptoms (On the thumb or finger itself)
Although this happens very rarely, it is possible among younger children with very sensitive skin. This happens because a great deal of moisture or condensation accumulates in a confined space, which allows the skin to become softened, chafed, and potentially irritated. It has nothing to do with the material of the guard, as we use an fda-listed, medical grade plastic with no harmful chemicals. If you notice redness and skin peeling that does not go away within a few hours of the device being removed, stop using the device and let the area heal completely. Once the skin is dry, the area should heal quickly, and over the counter remedies can make the area heal even faster.
Once the area has healed, you can resume using the device, but take the following precautionary steps:
- Always ensure that the skin underneath the appliance is dry and clean. If the area becomes wet, you can either remove the device and clean it (with soap and water, then dried thoroughly), or air dry it with a hair dryer, while the child is wearing it.
- To prevent irritation due to moisture, use any standard hydrophobic cream (like Vaseline, desitin, or any other diaper-rash ointment). Apply a very thin layer over the affected area, either on the skin of the thumb or finger, underneath the tube.
- You can prevent excess moisture from building by punching small, ¼ inch holes in the tube, using a hole punch. This will improve air flow and prevent condensation from forming.
General Redness (Underneath the Straps, or Instalock)
When the device is worn tightly, it can create a bit of pressure on the skin. Usually, the redness caused from this goes away shortly after removing the device, and is nothing to worry about. Though it often does not need any attention, placing a band-aid on the affected area before putting on the device will create a buffer layer which will prevent that area from becoming red.
Other Medical Issue
If you have any other concerns, please contact us.
If your child predominantly sucks their thumb, and has suddenly switched to the other thumb, we recommend using another TGuard to cover the other thumb. It is very common for children to switch (around 80% do), and the likelihood of them switching once again to a finger is very low.
However, if your child usually sucks their thumb and switches to a finger, or usually sucks their fingers and switches to a thumb, we do not recommend using another kit. This is more common among children who are younger than 3, and is a sign that the habit has not yet fully matured.
Why does this happen?
A child is born with a very strong instinct to suck, and usually choose a particular digit to satisfy their urge. Over time, a preference develops as the mouth changes shape to accommodate that particular digit, and the greater this preference is developed, the more discomfort they would feel if they switched to another digit. At a certain point, the discomfort outweighs the instinctual urge to suck, and it is at that point that the child does not switch any longer. Usually this is around 3 years of age, but in some cases, can be earlier or later.
It is our experience that it is best to wait 6 months to allow the habit to settle (the child will choose a particular digit or digits to suck, and suck no others), and then target that specific area with the corresponding product.
However, if you want address the problem now, there is another option. You can use a glove to cover the rest of the fingers. Please visit this site for more info:
Thin, cheap, and breathable fabric gloves (usually made of cotton) can be used to cover all of the fingers. These gloves are usually sold in arts and crafts store, pharmacies, or hardware stores (for gardening). You can cut the fingers or thumb off the glove, which correspond to those covered by the TGuard, and then put the TGuard over the glove. The TGuard will prevent the glove from being removed. If you need assistance with this, please contact us.
Chewing the device is extremely common and may affect around 80% of children who have a thumb or finger sucking habit. It is called an oral fixation, and it’s very important to treat this issue as well, before removing the TGuards. You can read more about oral fixations by clicking here. It is important to break the oral fixation before removing the TGuards, because a child can be 100% weaned from their desire to suck, but if they still have the secondary habit of putting things in their mouth, they may be at risk to slip back into the habit inadvertently. You can read more about risks of relapse after successful treatments by clicking here.
This is perfectly normal, and can even be expected. Thumb or finger sucking is a powerful addiction which is very hard to break, and for the child, serves as a proven means to relax, self-soothe, and lower stress. However, we know how damaging it can be in both the short term (higher chances of getting sick) and long-term (expensive dental work to correct misaligned teeth and jaw growth). So it must be taken care as soon as possible. First, it is important to understand that regardless of what treatment method is used, whether our product or any other, there WILL be a period of 3-7 days where the child is readjusting to life without thumb or finger sucking. This period will be difficult; the child will be irritable, cranky, etc. However, it is ONLY 3-7 days! If you and the child can get through that period together, you will see a noticeable transformation in your child’s attitude to the treatment, as their “drive” for the habit has been greatly reduced. They will be happy to continue, and will likely remind you to put on the TGuards. The hard part is those 3-7 days in the beginning, and unfortunately, you and the child will have to deal with those regardless of what treatment method you pursue. The best strategy is to make it through those 3-7 days without the child having a relapse. If they have a relapse, it may mean that you have to start over. This is undesirable because the child has to once again endure the process of readjustment from the beginning; the clock is set back. Here are some tips to get through those first few days.
The only way to clean the TGuard device is with warm water and soap. Be sure to dry thoroughly.
Do not microwave, boil, or put in the dishwasher.
Sometimes the product may become discolored after several weeks of use. This is a normal reaction to sunlight, saliva, and food stains. It does not negatively affect the use of the device in any way.
Ending the treatment is a big decision if you end it too early, the child can lapse back to the habit, if you extend it too long, you are expending extra energy for nothing. But there are a few tips we can provide which will help you determine if its time to let it go. If your child has not put the appliance in their mouth for an entire week, its usually a good indicator that they are over the habit. We recommend waiting for this to happen, which is usually before 30 days have elapsed since the start of treatment. If you have any doubts, or are unsure, go the full 30 days! However, when you reach day 30, if the child is still sucking on the tube (or chewing on it), you must extend the treatment. If you remove it now, they will go right back to thumb or finger sucking.
If your child resumed sucking their thumb or finger immediately after removing the device, it typically means that the treatment must be extended because the child has not yet broken their desire to suck.
This can happen for a number of reasons, but all of them have one thing in common: the child did not abstain from sucking for a long enough time. The treatment requires 100% consistency; if the child is able to suck occasionally, they will never quite break the habit, even if the treatment goes on for years. 5 days of 100% sucking prevention is much better than 5 months of treatment where the child is able to suck for a few minutes each day.
If the child can remove the device by themselves, then the treatment will not be effective because the child was able to suck during the 30 days. You must check on the child at night to make sure they are not removing it. If you see that they are removing it, please see the topics above about adjusting the device, or contact us for a replacement.
If the device was worn only periodically, and not 24/7, and the child was able to suck at other times throughout the day (even for a minute daily!), then the treatment will not be effective either because the child was able to suck during the 30 days.
In any case, you must immediately resume treatment and continue until you see 1 week elapse where the child does not put their thumbs or fingers near their mouth.
If your child began sucking their thumbs or fingers after a significant time has passed since the end of their treatment, it means that you have successfully treated the child’s sucking habit, but unfortunately, circumstances have led the child to relapse.
Relapses, although rare, do happen occasionally. In fact, the longer a child goes without engaging in the habit, the lower the chances are that a relapse would occur.
There are two primary reasons why a child can begin sucking their thumbs or fingers after a successful treatment.
1. Stress – either physical or mental.
2. Mimicking their peers.
The first reason, stress, is the most common. If the child becomes very ill, whether a cold, flu, bodily injury, etc, the strain it will put on the child may be overwhelming and induce them to instinctively seek out a means to self-soothe. Likewise, if there are traumatic developments within the family, such as a move, a new sibling, a divorce, etc, the child may also resort to their instinct to comfort themselves through sucking.
The second reason is simpler to understand: children may want to fit in, and they can do this by copying their peers. If your child has a close friend or sibling who sucks, your child may copy them in order to gain acceptance, and in doing so, may rekindle their habit once more.
In any case, it is important to understand the reason for the relapse in order to prevent it from happening again. You must resume treatment, and if possible, remove the reason for the relapse in the first place (either wait until the child is healthy, stress-free, or in an environment where they are not compelled to suck by their peers).