Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Racoon | 2012-01-16


3 yo hands in mouth

Dear Prof

My 3 yo son puts his hands in his mouht when he tries to fall asleep.  He doesn''t suck on his fingers, but fiddles with his teeth? Any idea why he does that? he also sometimes doen in during the night when he sleeps. In general he sleeps poorly waking a number of times a night complaining or asking for his bottle. He tongue seems to protrude at times, while awake and asleep, and he sometimes slurs a bit, and mispronounces some sounds. he also drools at times. I don''t know whether all or any of this are related? This is also my son with Arnold-Chiari.
Many thanks.

Expert's Reply



Good to see you back.This is probably just a comforting habit that your son has developed when he is falling asleep, much like many children who suck their thumbs instead. The question is whether he also has a blocked nose or if his tongue is interfering with his breathing. If his nose is blocked he may need an examination to find out if he has enlarged adenoids or some other reason for this problem. It may also be time for him to be seen by a speech therapist who will assess any problems with his tongue and recommend treatment measures if required.

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