Braceability is selling one of their pediatric elbow immobilizer brace for thumb sucking. While it’s clearly effective to immobilize the arm, it feels more like wearing a cast and is too limiting for a child to engage in natural daily activities, such as eating or doing activities at a desk, or even just playing. The Braceability kids elbow brace best is for post-surgery of cleft palate repair or IV therapy, when the child should not be allowed to bend their arms and touch their face at all. This elbow brace is also good for special needs children such as autistic children prone to scratching or hitting his or her face.
Stopping thumb sucking can take up to 30 days (7-21 days average), and so an arm immobilizer that is intended for short periods of use is not recommended. Due to having nearly total immobility, it is impractical to use for breaking the thumb sucking habit in children four and older. Braceability’s simple design is okay for baby thumb sucking (children two years old and younger), because they do have the same the same needs for ambitious use of their hands and arms.
Designed for short term limb immobilization, there has not been much thought given to the needs or comfort of the wearer. The construction is an inexpensive latex free, foam material with a clingy exterior fabric that Velcro hook will cling to. To apply, simply wrap the Braceability elbow immobilizer around the arm, centered around the elbow, and secure the Velcro straps. Its effectiveness comes from the multiple aluminum rods sewn in place onto the foam. If the arm is bend at all, the wearer feels immediate discomfort on the forearm and bicep, where the end of the aluminum splints press on to the arm under pressure. The arm quickly feels sore if in the bent position, which acts as encouragement not to do that.
If your child sucks both thumbs, and needs a stop thumb sucking device for both hands, this elbow arm immobilizer definitely should not be considered, as the discomfort of not moving both arms at the same time would be unacceptable.
The thumb sucking elbow brace will need to be put on and off throughout the day for certain activities, and with frequent fastening and unfastening the foam starts to pull apart by the Velcro hook after about week, faster if it is washed. Braceability does score a point for being washable, which is normally needed with any thumbsucker who is typically around the age of six. The foam used to construct the elbow splint makes it lightweight and breathable, however the padding is minimal.
BraceAbility is known for its figure 8 brace, and other joint products, and the thumb sucking elbow brace works well to stop baby thumb sucking if only one thumb is sucked. However, for preschool and up thumb suckers this product misses the mark.
Elbow guards, or elbow wraps, in theory are the best thumb sucking products because they allow the child to have full use of their hands (very important at a young age) and simply limit the range of motion of the arm, eliminating the oral fixation over time. This is based on the same principal as the ACE Bandage around the elbow. But a total arm immobilizer is not the right application. Whatever device you choose to stop thumb sucking will need to be designed for extended use and take into consideration key parameters, like comfort, ease of use, durability, etc. Braceability offers no guidance on how to create a stop thumb sucking program or information about understanding the ups and down of trying to break the habit. The best elbow guard to stop thumb sucking is the Nipit Hand Stopper which was designed specifically for thumb sucking.
- Easy to use
- Short-term use
- Arms are immobile
- Velco wears out quickly
- Cannot use for double thumb-sucker
Here’s a review of the BraceAbility for thumb sucking from a verified Amazon customer,
“I purchase one of these every month for my son with special needs to keep his hands out of his mouth. Two issues with this brace: 1) The metal rods always break through the ends of the material since the material is a jersey knit and not that strong/durable. Two weeks in and the rods are already poking out. I stitch the material back together again to get a few more days use out of it. 2) The velcro doesn’t last more than a few days. The material that the velcro is attaching to just does not have enough ‘stick’.” – Amazon reviewer S. Bordeaux
The BraceAbility elbow immobilizing brace is designed for infants, babies and toddlers, and comes in two sizes, XS and S. XS is designed for infants and newborns only, and size S for toddlers and young children up to the age of about eight according to the Braceability’s website, which by they way is best known for its figure 8 sling. The small size fits children whose elbow circumference is less than 9 inches. Use a soft tape measure to check. Directions are simple: Unhook the straps made of Velcro and center the splint around the child’s elbow joint, then secure the splint with the hook and loop closures for a snug but not too tight fit is achieved.
Use a soft tape measure to check the arm measurement. Directions are simple: Unhook the straps made of Velcro and center the splint around the child’s elbow joint, then secure the splint with the hook and loop closures for a snug but not too tight fit is achieved.
OUR FINAL CONCLUSION
- The BraceAbility pediatric elbow immobilizer is best left for short-term clinical applications.
- Inexpensive, easy to use, washable, good for very short-term use.
- Immobilizes arm too much, poor quality material falls apart quickly.