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Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Child’s Plaster Cast

Your child will be going home from the hospital with a plaster cast in place. A cast helps your child’s body heal. A damaged cast can prevent the injury from healing well. Take good care of your child’s cast. If the cast becomes damaged, it may need to be replaced. 

 

Your child has broken his/her ___________________ bone. This bone is located in his/her ____________.

Keep the Cast Dry

A wet cast can crumble and fall apart. Take these steps to keep the cast dry:

  • Have your child avoid all activities in which the cast could get wet.

  • Take special care to keep the cast dry when your child bathes or showers. Wrap the cast in plastic bags. Use heavy tape to secure the plastic so that water won’t leak in.

  • Don’t soak the cast in water, even if it’s wrapped in plastic.

  • If your child must go out in rain or snow, cover the cast with waterproof clothing or plastic.

  • Use a hair dryer turned to the “cool” setting to dry a cast that has become wet. Call your child’s doctor if the cast has not dried within 24 hours.

Other Cast Care

  • Don’t allow your child to stick things in the cast, even to scratch his or her skin. Objects put in the cast may get stuck or your child’s skin may be cut and become infected. If your child’s skin itches, try blowing air into the cast with a hair dryer turned to the “cool” setting.

  • Don’t let your child pick at the padding of the cast. Padding protects your child’s skin and must be kept intact.

  • Don’t cut or tear the cast. 

  • Cover any rough edges of the cast with cloth tape or moleskin. (You can buy this at a pharmacy.)

  • Never try to remove the cast yourself.

Activity

  • Help your child to exercise all the adjacent joints not immobilized by the cast. If your child has a long leg cast, exercise the hip joint and the toes. If your child has an arm cast or splint, exercise the shoulder, elbow, thumb, and fingers.

  • Elevate the part of your child’s body that is in the cast above the level of the heart. This helps reduce swelling.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Child's Doctor

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

  • Tingling or numbness in the injured body part

  • Severe pain that cannot be relieved

  • Cast that feels too tight or too loose

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

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

  • Cast that gets wet or soggy

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/9/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 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.