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My 2.5 year old one is always picking at his scabs, leading to him reopening and even enlarging small wounds and scratches at least daily. This delays the time for them to heal by a good amount and I am afraid that it might be lead to scarring and/or infections (the newest one is on his cheek).

Obviously we tried band-aids but he pulls them off as well.

I tried both explaining and scolding but it hasn't helped much so far. One problem is that when I didn't see him do it, the scolding comes too late after the fact and he does not seem to understand why he is being scolded. He also does it in his sleep and scolding him for that would be quite unfair.

Does anyone have experience with this and can either give a suggestion how to explain it to him or has an alternative to band-aids which can't be pulled off?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If he's scratching them in his sleep then it must be painful or uncomfortable. Asking a 2 year old not to touch something that itches is not worth it, they don't have the self-control.

Try treating the wounds with an anesthetic salve, it will deaden the itch. Ask a pharmacist to recommend one that's OK for kids.

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I agree, I don't think that at this age they can understand. In addition to the suggestion above, you could also put light mittens or gloves on his hands during the night so that he can't scratch. I had chicken pox as a toddler, and my mom said it was the only way she could stop me from scratching at night. –  Nathalie Laroche Feb 18 '13 at 13:39
    
That's a great suggestion and definitely worth a try. –  GdD Feb 18 '13 at 13:46
    
The salve is a good idea, thanks. I am not quite convinced yet that he just doesn't find it interesting to pull at it, since he does so even with small scratches which he should barely notice and in a status where they should not hurt anymore (an itch is possible, though) –  Erik Feb 18 '13 at 13:58
    
My daughter is a scab-picker/itcher. She's your son's age. Bandaids usually work for her (she LOVES them!), but, for her, it's not about picking at it. It's about the fact that it's itchy. It's obvious to me that she's not even thinking about the fact that she's scratching/picking at her scabs. Antibiotic ointment with a bandaid that she likes helps for most of them. As for picking at small scabs that shouldn't bother him, it amazes me the tiny little scratches that my daughter will notice that I won't until she points them out to me! –  Meg Coates Feb 26 '13 at 15:20

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