Shriners Children's specializes in putting children at ease while casting, a common treatment for fractures and breaks.
Casts immobilize injured bones, promote healing, and reduce pain and swelling while the bone heals. Casts are sometimes put on an arm, leg or other body part after surgery to protect the bone and ensure it remains in proper alignment.
Getting a cast put on is not painful and our care team aims to make the process fun. Your child may choose from colorful designs to help make the experience less scary. Cast application will vary depending upon what type of cast your child will be receiving. A member of the care team will go over the specific details with you.
Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.
Easing Worries Prior to Casting
With their knowledge, training and understanding of child development, our child life specialists work with your child – often through play – to help them feel more comfortable, calm and confident.
Proper cast care can make a big difference for your child.
Steps to care for your child's cast:
- Keep the cast clean and dry. The best way to keep a cast dry when bathing is to put two bags over the cast. Place a bag on the cast, then apply a towel around the top of the cast with tape, followed by the second bag. This does not make the cast waterproof, but it will help protect it from splashing. If the cast does get splashed on, you can use a hairdryer on cool or low to dry it. If the cast gets very wet you will need to have the cast changed within 24 hours, as the moisture can damage the skin underneath the cast.
- Check the cast often for cracks or breaks. If you find one, contact your child’s doctor.
- Cover the cast while your child is eating to prevent food spills and crumbs from entering the cast.
Cast Tips and Guidelines
Once your child has been fitted with a cast, there are important guidelines to follow. Our cast technicians will go over these instructions with you and your child to ensure safety and comfort.
- Do not scratch the skin under the cast by inserting objects or fingers inside the cast.
- Do not put small toys or objects inside the cast.
- Avoid sand, dirt, and mulch. Loose particles may work their way into the cast and irritate your child’s skin.
- Do not put powder or rub lotion inside the cast.
- You can use a hair dryer on a cool setting to blow air under the cast and cool down hot, itchy skin, but never blow warm or hot air into the cast.
- Elevate the cast above heart level to decrease swelling.
- Encourage your child to move their fingers or toes to promote circulation.
Removing a Cast
It is very important to tell your cast technician if your child has picked out some of the padding or placed anything inside the cast.
Children are not small adults. Their bones heal faster than adults. This means that a child with an injury should see an experienced pediatric orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.