Medicine: For Young Folks

When a baby contentedly sucks his thumb after meals, don't slap his hand or bind it with tape. Leave him alone, says Dr. William Siddon Langford of Manhattan. Contrary to the beliefs of most parents and pediatricians, thumb-sucking in infants is a harmless pleasure. No scientist has ever proved, said Dr. Langford, talking to the American Academy of Pediatrics last week, that thumb-sucking 1) introduces germs into tonsils and stomach, 2) stimulates harmful sexual activity, or 3) causes receding jaws and buckteeth. Thumb-sucking may push milk teeth slightly out of line, but if...

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