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You are here: Home > Toddlers > Toddler Health

Q&A: Why is my 1 1/2 year old touching herself?

by Dr. Clare Albright |
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Q My 1 1/2 year old daughter recently started touching herself and straddling her legs on me and bouncing up and down. My husband and I have never had sex in front of her, but I have suspicions that my brother may have touched her. Is there a way to tell for certain? Also, she goes through these spells where she hits and screams and throws fits. What should I do and why would she be doing this?

A The personal exploration and the temper tantrums you are describing can be normal in this age group. However, if you any suspicions of anyone touching her, I would recommend that you speak to the child's doctor and have a complete exam. There can be some telltale signs of sexual abuse, but if the touching was very superficial there may be no evidence. Either way, if this is a situation you are suspecting, you need to do something about it immediately! She should always be supervised when around your brother (you did not mention how old he is), and you need to seek help. As far as the tantrums, they are normal. We usually try to ignore and redirect them to some other activity when possible. You do not want to reward her and give in every time she has a tantrum. Otherwise, they learn this is a way to get what they want.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your Ped.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at http://www.callyourped.com


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