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How should I protect my child’s skin from irritation from a cast?

Michael E. Raemisch, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
There are ways to protect your child’s skin from getting irritated:

• During the first 24 hours after the cast is put on, elevate the casted
  body part. This prevents swelling. Ice helps, too; place ice bags to the
  sides of the cast, not on top of it.

• Change your child’s position often. This will decrease constant
  pressure on any one skin area. For leg casts, place pillows under the
  calf for support and to prevent pressure sores.

• Every day, check your child’s skin for red or swollen areas, breaks in
  the skin, or bad odors from inside the cast. If there are any red areas,
  change your child’s position so the pressure is removed. If the area
  stays red for 30 minutes after the pressure is removed, call your
  doctor.

• Do not allow your child to stick any object under the cast. This can
  injure the skin.

• If your child complains of severe itching underneath the cast, use your
  fingertips only to reach into the cast. Rub the skin gently. If itching
  continues, use a hair dryer, set on cool, to blow air into the cast.

• Give your child sponge baths instead of shower or tub baths. Be sure
  not to get the cast wet. Use a plastic wrap and towels to protect the
  cast. Wash all the skin that is not covered by the cast. Do not use
  lotion or powder at the edges of the cast because it can “cake up” or
  cause irritation by making the skin softer.

• If your child is a baby, this is a good time to get into the habit of
  using crib safety rails. The weight of the cast may cause your child
  to get off balance and fall.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.