[Skip to Navigation]
Progress in Pediatrics
December 1939


Author Affiliations

From the Babies Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

Am J Dis Child. 1939;58(6):1290-1300. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1939.01990110154015

Thumb and finger sucking are of importance because of the concern they cause in parents. The pediatrician to whom the alarmed parents come for advice is often as confused about the significance of the practice as are the parents themselves. He finds it difficult to help them or to allay their fears. In order to do this successfully he is in need of a working knowledge of the significance of the habit at different age levels. He needs to know what harm, if any, may result; what factors lead to the development of the habit, and what measures should, or should not, be taken to handle the situation adequately.

Sucking of the thumb or the fingers occurs at some time in nearly every child's life. Sucking of the toes occurs less frequently but is not rare. Many young infants suck their fingers only when hungry; others indulge in the practice

Add or change institution