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Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Child’s Splint

Your child will be coming home with a splint. This is sometimes called a removable cast. A splint helps your child’s body heal by holding his or her injured bones or joints in place. A damaged splint can prevent the injury from healing well. Take good care of your child’s splint. If the splint becomes damaged or loses its shape, 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 __________________.

Splint care

  • Make sure your child wears his or her splint according to the healthcare provider's instructions.

  • Keep the splint dry at all times. Bathe with your splint well out of the water. You can hold the splint outside the tub or shower when bathing. Protect it with a large plastic bag closed at the top end with a rubber band. Use two layers of plastic to help keep the splint dry. Or you can buy a waterproof shield.

  • If a splint gets wet, dry it with a hair dryer on the “cool” setting. Don’t use the warm or hot setting, because those settings can burn your skin.

  • Always keep the splint clean and away from dirt.

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

  • Keep the splint away from open flames.

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

  • Don’t cut or tear the splint. 

Exercise and elevation

  • Encourage your child to exercise all the nearby joints not kept still by the splint. If your child has a long leg splint, help him or her to exercise the hip joint and toes. If your child has an arm splint, encourage your child to exercise his or her shoulder, elbow, thumb, and fingers.

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

Follow-up care

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:

  • Tingling or numbness in the affected area

  • Severe pain that cannot be relieved with medicine

  • Splint that feels too tight or too loose

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

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

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

  • A bad odor comes from underneath the splint

  • Blisters

  • 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 because your baby may need to be seen by his or her healthcare provider

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

    • Your child is younger than 2 years old and his or her fever continues for more than 24 hours or your child is 2 years old and older and his or her fever continues for more than 3 days

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N, MD
Last Review Date: 11/15/2015
© 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.