Some toddlers (and adults) cannot resist picking scabs. Picking is an unpleasant (ok, just downright gross!) topic that many parents deal with. Picking can lead to lingering sores, infections and even potential scarring. It can turn a mosquito bite into a gaping red crater that can last for months. It can also create anxiety for parents who have tried everything. Here are some tips to help stop the toddler temptation to pick.
• Vaseline – Our favorite tactic is covering the area with Vaseline, which makes picking much more difficult. A thin layer of Polysporin Kids underneath the Vaseline, applied as per manufacturers directions, can also help with healing.
• Keep fingernails short (and smooth) – Filing your child’s nails very short is helpful, but likely won’t solve the problem completely if you have a determined picker on your hands.
• Provide distractions – Avoid drawing attention to the picking by discussions or scolding, as this attention may increase the temptation to pick. Often, distractions will yield better results. If you notice picking, try redirecting your child’s hand towards a toy, book, or other activity.
• Bandages – Covering the area with a bandage can help, but keep in mind that most bandages made for kids come off fairly easy therefore this may not work (and the bandage may become a choking hazard if removed). Nexcare makes children’s bandages with a strong adhesive that come in bright colors and include licensed characters. However, if your child has sensitive skin, bandage adhesive may irritate and create itchy rashes, which could compound the problem.
• Cotton gloves – Wearing cotton gloves can keep absentminded or sleepy picking at bay. To make wearing the gloves appealing, make sure they fit well, are breathable and lightweight, and make them fun. Let kids decorate the gloves or make the gloves part of an an activity (fancy play tea party) or part of a costume (“superhero gloves” with superhero t-shirt or cape).
Keep in mind, if a cut is weeping or extremely red and sore, make sure to have it looked at by a doctor. These symptoms could signal an infection. If the cut is infected, your doctor may prescribe a topical cream for treatment. In this case, ask if the area should be covered with a bandaid or gauze during the course of treatment.
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