HealthSheets™


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 (stockinette) 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 nearby joints not kept still (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. 

  • Raise the part of the body that is in the cast above heart level. 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 child's healthcare provider first. 

Follow-up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your child's 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 (see “Fever and children” below)

  • 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 cast

  • Blisters

 

Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit (axillary) temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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