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Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Child’s Removable Cast

Your child will be going home with a removable cast (sometimes referred to as a splint). A cast helps your child’s body heal by holding injured bones or joints in place. A damaged cast can keep the injury from healing well. Take good care of your child’s cast. If the cast becomes damaged, it may need to be replaced. Here's what you need to know about home care.

Your child has a broken ___________________ bone. This bone is located in the ____________.

Cast care

Do's and don'ts: 

  • Make sure your child wears the removable cast according to the healthcare provider's instructions.

  • Clean the removable cast with soap and lukewarm water and scrub it with a small brush.

  • Use alcohol wipes to rub the inside of the removable cast to reduce odor and bacteria.

  • Wash the Velcro straps and inner cloth sleeve (stockinet) with soapy water and air-dry.

  • Keep the removable cast away from open flames.

  • Don’t expose the removable cast to heat, space heaters, or prolonged sunlight. Excessive heat will cause the removable cast to change shape.

  • Don’t cut or tear the cast. 

Activity

The following activities are suggested: 

  • Encourage your child to exercise all the adjacent joints not immobilized by the cast. If your child has a long leg cast, help him or her to exercise the hip joint and toes. If your child has an arm cast or splint, encourage exercise of the shoulder, elbow, thumb, and fingers. Your child should not walk until getting your healthcare provider's approval. 

  • Elevate the part of the body that is in the cast. This helps reduce swelling.

  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed to control pain.

  • Your child may return to school, but activities such as sports should be cleared by your healthcare provider first. 

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever as directed by your healthcare provider or:

    • Your child is younger than 12 weeks and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

    • Your child has repeated fevers above 104°F (40°C) at any age.

    • Your child is younger than 2 years old and the fever continues for more than 24 hours

    • Your child is 2 years old or older and the fever continues for more than 3 days.  

  • Tingling, numbness, or swelling in the affected area

  • Severe pain that cannot be relieved with medicine

  • Cast that feels too tight or too loose.

  • Decreased ability to move arm or leg in the cast. 

  • Swelling, coldness, or blue-gray color in the fingers or toes

  • Cast that is damaged, cracked, or has rough edges that hurt

  • Pressure sores or red marks that don’t go away within 1 hour after removing the splint

  • Blisters

 

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