Tguard Aerothumb: Does It Really Work?
The TGuard AeroThumb treatment kit is an improved design based on the original T-Guard Classic, which has had varied success over the years. Their latest generation to stop thumb sucking is an improvement, it is softer and fits better. The company makes thumb guards to stop thumb sucking, and finger guards for finger protection. They have sizes from small to large, and service ages from two years old until about ten. All of their products are based on placing a plastic device over the thumb (or fingers), and securing it in place with T Guard bracelets.
All of TGuard ant-thumb/finger sucking devices use disposable bracelets to secure them around the wrist so the child cannot remove them. The bracelets come in different colors so the child may choose a different color each day. 30 bracelets are included with the Tguard Aerothumb treatment kit – which will probably last just two weeks if two are used every day. Since you’ll need to cut them off before washing hands, and that usually happens several times a day, it is easy to see how the 30 included pieces will get used up very quickly. Beware, additional packs of 60 bracelets cost $25.
Be prepared to spend extra $25 (+shipping) for replacement bracelets! Each time your child needs to wash, you must cut the bracelet to remove Tguard. If your child washes their hands just three times per day, you’ll run out of the included bracelets in ten days (TGuard recommends a thirty day program).
The plastic device that covers the thumb has slits that allow air to pass through, so that the child is unable to create suction. The concept makes sense, like most other products on the market for digit sucking – cover the finger, eliminate the habit. The AeroThumb is the most effective of all thumb-covering products because it secures to the hand and is difficult to remove. However it suffers from the same problem as the other thumb guards, which is that it does not eliminate the oral fixation. While the Aerothumb will interrupt the thumb sucking, your child’s oral fixation may still require management. The child may choose to satisfy their urges by chewing on the device’s soft rubber, transition to sucking the other thumb, or relapse after a couple weeks – this is why TGuard suggests to continue with the program for a full thirty days and two weeks after the habit appears to be broken. In extreme cases, care should be taken that pieces of the plastic are not chewed off. (Watch out, Fido would love to chew on this!)
We like the T-Guard Aerothumb’s treatment kit concept to stop thumb sucking and its professional packaging, but its success ratio is not much better than other thumb sucking products, and it seems overpriced when considering the cost of extra bracelets that are usually be needed.
Putting on the device takes some serious spatial skills and leaves the caregiver wondering if put on properly. There are 3 separate components required to apply the device. The rubber digit cover with two overlapping flaps each with three alignment slots, a small red plastic instalock piece, and the bracelet that weave through the installation slots. The only way to remove the thumb guard is by cutting off the bracelet off. If the small Instalock piece is lost, contact TGuard for a replacement.
Improvements to the new TGuard AeroThumb include primarily softer plastic and better fit. With improvements there are always unwanted side effects. For example, while the plastic has become softer so it is more comfortable, kids now like to chew on the plastic, which could fragment and result in small pieces (BPA and phthalate free, but be careful to watch and not let it be swallowed!). The improved ventilation design is less bulky and gives it great flexibility, but collects a lot more slobber, germs and dirt and is harder to keep clean. Other complaints include children developing sores where the plastic rubs against the skin. Consider a little soft gauze to protect your child’s wrist before securing the band in place.
Keeping the guard clean is a challenge as the vented rubber design will trap more grime, food, etc. than the previous design. The AeroThumb treatment kit gets wet with slobber and will fill with germs, and pet hair and dirt will stick to it. Kids wash and clean their hands multiple times a day at home and school and TGuard recommends the device should be rid of residual moisture after washing. This is difficult to achieve (impossible?) without taking it off. After cutting off the TGuard bracelets washing is easy. Be sure to thoroughly dry the thumb guard after washing before each use.
The bracelets require an adult to put on. This is good and bad. With the bracelet secured the AeroThumb will stay on but does not enable your child to take control of breaking the habit on their own. The only way to remove the thumb guard is by cutting off the bracelet with scissors (careful!). How often should your child wash their hands, and will need to remove and replace the bracelet. The product includes 30 bracelets, and TGuard recommends you follow a 30-day program even if your child stops thumbsucking sooner.
If you’ve decided to buy the Aerothumb, make sure to buy the right size. Pediatric dentists do not recommend thumb guards for children under two because baby sucking thumb before teeth erupt is normal. However, T Guard suggest to choose small ages 0-4. For elementary students, chose medium ages 5-6, or large ages 7-12. If it isn’t sized just right, or if your child is determined, they may be able to slip their thumb out as shown here.
- prevents vacuum around thumb to remove thumb sucking pleasure
- soft FDA approved plastic
- collects slobber, germs and dirt
- inhibits normal finger usage
- may cause blisters
- hazard when kids chew off pieces
TGuard Aerothumb works by eliminating the suction to stop thumb sucking pleasurable feelings, so the child no longer has an incentive to suck their thumbs. Some children switch from one thumb to the other (our research shows about 25%), so consider that your child may need to wear two. Wearing two thumb guards at the same time can be a real problem, and prevents normal activities such as eating and drinking, playing or developing motor skills. For the double thumb sucker, definitely consider the elbow guard alternatives (avoid anti-nail biting polish).
Wearing any thumb sucking deterrent on the hand is “uncool” and can be unmotivating, making it difficult to get collaboration. A truly exceptional service the company is providing is phone support for parents having difficulty. For phone support, check the included phone number that came with your product (US customers), or reach TGuard customer support by email at [email protected].
TGguard AeroThumb treatment kit is based on the same principles as the TGuard Classic thumb guard, and is designed a finger protector to help thumb sucking stop. Accessories include 1 Ambidextrous AeroThumb™ appliance with 30 bracelets, reward chart and stickers and T guard aerothumb instructions.
OUR FINAL CONCLUSION
- This vented soft plastic prevents suction.
- Prevents suction, washable, good customer support.
- Collects slobber and germs and kids chew on it, thumb may slip out, difficult to use and expensive.