Practical Tips Parents Need to Know to Keep Children Comfortable Before, During & After a Cast

Let’s face it, kids will be kids, and a cast for a broken bone will happen.  Wearing a cast may not be the most comfortable during sleep, daily activities or any extracurricular activity. Our article outlines the basics in minimizing the  discomfort your child experiences while wearing a cast through proper cast care and maintenance  so their bone(s) may heal properly in the quickest manner.

Fiberglass Casts Benefits

Fiberglass casts allow for a lighter, more breathable type of support for bone fractures. Fiberglass also allows x-rays to be taken, so the physician can track the bone’s healing. Your child may also enjoy the bright colors available in fiberglass casts. Fiberglass casts keep the injured body part immobile to protect it while it is healing.

How to Keep Your Child Comfortable While in a Cast

Cast care and maintenance will help your child be more comfortable as they recover from their injury. Most casts are padded with cotton stockinette and cotton gauze like cast padding for comfort.  Cotton cast padding may become irritating to your child’s skin when it becomes wet from water that may potentially enter during a bath or shower, rain, or sweat.

When your child has cotton cast padding and needs to bathe or shower, it is crucial for the cast to remain dry. To keep the cast dry, cover it with two layers of plastic material and secure the edges of the material to the skin with waterproof tape to prevent water from entering the cast and wetting the padding.   Another option is  to use some form of commercially available cast cover or protector. Either option is obtainable, yet, may yield difficulties in getting covered completely and ensuring a strong seal keeping moisture out.

Alternatively, your physician can  apply a full waterproof cast with waterproof cast padding material. This application will allow you child to get the cast wet while taking showers, going swimming in a pool, or running around and sweating without being concerned with over-use or irritation.

Tips to Keep Your Child Comfortable After a Cast

In general, a few basic tips will keep your child’s arm or leg comfortable after a cast has been removed, such as:

  • If some residual swelling, keep your child’s recovering body part elevated.
  • Avoid bumping or hitting the recovering area.
  • Check the skin around where the cast was applied for rash, swelling, discoloration, numbness or pain.
  • Apply ice as needed to keep swelling to a minimum.
  • Use a hair dryer set on the cool setting or a fan to blow air down the cast and minimize itching.
  • Consult your physician if you feel your child may be displaying signs of discomfort afterwards.

Implementing and understanding these simple, practical measures will help protect your child’s body while it heals and minimize their pain and discomfort while maximizing recovery time. For more tips and advice, please read other articles in our blog to help with cast care and maintenance and how waterproof casts are the way to keep a normal life when injured to not be concerned with moisture irritation along the way.

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