tips for when your child is in a cast

Aug 11, 2015

Not that I ever want anyone's child to end up in a cast! It is pretty awful. But, after spending countless hours searching for answers to some road blocks on Pierce's road to recovery, I figured I would share a few things. It may seem stupid, but if you find yourself trying to console your toddler who has an itch in his cast and can't scratch it, or you haven't quite figured out how to bathe a child in a cast, allow me to help you. Please! 

So, the biggest thing we learned on this five week road to recovery is.....moisture is good and bad! Being in a cast is clearly an uncomfortable thing. The biggest thing for Pierce was that he has very dry skin already, and problem areas with eczema breakouts. Now slap a hard plaster bandage around his arm and you are sure to piss him off. Before they put the cast on your child ask your doctor for a minute to clean and moisturize the area. For Pierce I concentrated on his elbow and wrist area. Allow the moisturizer to soak in before they start the casting process. 

Once it is on there is not much more you can do. 

The next little fun thing we ran into was when Pierce had an itch. We attempted to stick so many things in his cast to get to the itchy area. Fun fact: we found a nickel in there when we took the first cast off (Pierce did it, not me)! Anyway I looked online so many times to see just how people were relieving the itch. We tried pipe cleaners, pencils, and straws. It was kind of ridiculous the things we were sticking in there. Finally I gave up and called my mom and step-dad because they had five insanely rowdy children in their house, surely they would know. My step-dad told me to stick a straw in there (the mcdonalds ones were preferred) and blow into the straw once it is in the cast! Do you think it worked? You're damn right it did! Not to mention Pierce thought it was hilarious!! 

Next is the bathing situation. All the orthopedic surgeon said was "don't get it wet". Oh okay....great! I looked at him like, have you ever bathed a three year old? It's like bathing an elephant. There is just water flying everywhere. When Ace was in a soft arm cast he was disciplined enough to hang his arm out of the tub. Ace borders the line of OCD with most things, so if I tell him not to do something because there is some kind of consequence....he just doesn't do it. Now Pierce, Pierce is a different breed. If I tell him NOT to get the cast wet, you bet your bottom dollar he will pour a cup of water on it. So for bathing purposes we had to go full force with the waterproofing. I would first wrap his cast in saran wrap. Covering his fingers and well up to his shoulder. Then I would use masking tape to tape around that to ensure a good wrap was goin on. Then I would wrap it in a trash bag, sometimes two. You may think this is excessive, but the first time I did just the trash bag trick and his upper arm was soaked! Not cool. So you need to double wrap it folks. 

Cleaning. Ace gets his germ phobia from me. So I was kind of a nutcase about keeping Pierce's fingers clean. Now obviously I couldn't wash his hand, nor could I get down into his cast. But I did get a few q-tips and clean in between his fingers every night. Little kids are dirty! Between him playing outside, playing with play-doh and whatever else I was always having to clean where I could. And sure enough both times when they removed his cast, it had little to no smell!!! I tell you this because if you have ever been in a casting area when someone else gets their cast off....it isn't all roses. Just ask Ace who said very loudly, "what is that awful smell" when we were waiting to get Pierce's cast off. 

Again, moisturizing is your friend. If you have the opportunity like we did where you will be changing the cast half way through, bring some lotion. I used the Mustela Hydra Stick on Pierce. 

Once the cast is removed your child will probably start shedding skin like a lizard. I took Pierce right home and put his arm in a warm bath with lavender and epsom salt. And just massaged his arm with a warm wash cloth to get all the dead skin off. Then followed it up with some lotion. For his really dry parts, where the cast was just rubbing all the time, I used some aquaphor

I know this is probably some really common sense kind of stuff. So pardon my inexperience on the subject, but if this helps one mom and child duo from the depths of the itchy cast tantrum I will feel very relieved!! 


8 comments:

  1. This is incredible. In like: "wow, all this stuff I never thought of!!!" increase! I LOVE the blowing through the straw idea! I'll hope that my son is never in a cast, but I was the most prim-and-proper child ever and even I ended up in a cast (after falling off a chair) so clearly it can happen to anyone, anytime.

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  2. This kind of cracks me up since this is my first few months as a ne parent. However being an ER/Trauma nurse the number of times before I had kids that I would tell parents in the ER to not get the kids cast or sling or wound wet/dirty etc. for all reasons applicable now just sounds laughable. No wonder they all just looked at me and rolled their eyes....

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    1. HA! It definitely changes once you have your own. Pierce stuck his hand in a cup of milk and I was like ....ugh! come on! LOL

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  3. Bahahahah... I love that there was a nickel in there!

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  4. Oh man! I've never had to deal with a cast but it sounds interesting haha.

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  5. The straw trick I would never in my life have thought of!! Sometimes parents just know all the best tricks. You included.

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  6. I like that kids are just completely unfiltered like...WHAT IS THAT AWFUL SMELL?!?

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