15 answers

Helping My Son with a Broken Arm

My 12 yr old son brok his arm yesterday between the elbow and shoulder. They 'set' it today and he will be in a splint & sling for somewhere between 6 weeks and 3 mos. I am looking for any ideas on how to help him shower/bathe. His arm has been immobilized against in an L shape against his stomache. At 12, you can imagine we can't go too long without some sort of bathing & shampooing.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas. We have one of the long handled back scrubber/loofah doo-dads and tried the clear plastic wrap tonite. My d.h. was in charge so the sling got wet; I am praying that the splint did not. I'll give him a couple of days to recover from the indignity and then we will try again. This time, he will be stuck with mom cuz' dad will be out of town. With he arm so close to his stomache/chest, we had a problem negotiating the garbage bag, but I'll attempt that later. Thanks again for all of your ideas, kind words, and sympathy!

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As an adult I was put into an "L" cast due to a damaged nerve in my shoulder, and it was a nightmare, but like the others I used a plastic bag to cover my arm, and then the mobile shower to bath. It took a little practice, but I did get it. One thing you might want to do is ask the dr's office or medical supply about a sleeve he could put on over the cast since it is close to the body, and then use the plastic as the extra protection. Good Luck!!!

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Try wrapping it in cling wrap,I broke my shoulder a few yrs. back and found that was the best solution.I wish your son a speedy recovery.
D. R.

1 mom found this helpful

You could slide a garbage bag over his arm while he's in the shower to keep the brace dry. If you don't have a built in seat in the shower, you can purchase one from most drug stores. They take about three minutes to put together and cost about $70.00. This should ensure he doesn't fall while bathing with his newly limited mobility. Install a handheld shower head with a long hose. And if he can't reach his entire body, consider buying one of those loofahs on a handle (also at the drug store). And make sure his shampoo is in a squeeze bottle so that he can just pour the shampoo on his head and then lather with the same hand. I hope some of this is helpful, and I hope he has a speedy recovery. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

As an adult I was put into an "L" cast due to a damaged nerve in my shoulder, and it was a nightmare, but like the others I used a plastic bag to cover my arm, and then the mobile shower to bath. It took a little practice, but I did get it. One thing you might want to do is ask the dr's office or medical supply about a sleeve he could put on over the cast since it is close to the body, and then use the plastic as the extra protection. Good Luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

hey B.,
The best way to get clean without getting wet on the splint is to wrap the arm with a large trash bag and use duct tape to close the bag and secure it to the arm.
Hope this helps!! God bless you and yours!

1 mom found this helpful

My son broke his arm and wrist in January and has a cast that goes all the way up to his shoulder. I wrap his arm in Saran wrap and then tie a garbage bag around it. He showers or bathes with that arm hanging outside the tub. It's not a great solution but it does the job. He only does that 3 times a week the other days he washes up.

When my arm was in a cast for 3 months, I put a plastic bag around it and a rubber band of some sort to keep it on. The rubber band obviously not too tight as to cut off circulation just enough to hold it in place. I used newspaper bags or grocery bags. I would sit in the tub and lay that arm on the outside and use my other arm to wash and put my head under the faucet to wash my hair using my free arm. You could help him with the hair washing if he needed it and bathing suit if he wants privacy.

Hi B.! When my 7 yr old son broke his arm (same spot) we wrapped it in a garbage bag with pull ties and then allowed him to take a bath. My husband would go in and wash his hair real quick or he would lean over the tub and we would wash his hair that way and then he would take his bath.

Hi B.,

There are mesh sponges that have long handles on them. Bath and Body Works or maybe even Wal-Mart or the dollar store has them. They are made for you to be able to reach your back but in your son's case, he could reach anything with his good arm. Use a waterproof garbage bag that will slip over the arm. Tape it down to itself so it won't allow water in. He should be able to handle everything except maybe washing his hair alone.

I've been there with a sister and a fractured wrist. She had pins protruding that couldn't get wet. ARRRGGGG!

Hope this helped and hope he heals quickly!

Regards,

M.

If you go into a medical store they sell special bags to go over cast. He should be able to sit in the bath with his arm above the water. With that and a sponge he should get thru it. good luck

B.,

I am a pediatric nurse, what we always tell our othropedic patients is bathe with that arm outside the tub or do bird baths from the sink. I know this is going to be a hard task, but really that's the only way.

Although you will still have to do some actual bathing, sponge bathing will be an option in between, for ease as much as anything else. Also - they made a powdered shampoo, just put on & brush out. There are several brands out there -check the camping section at your local walmart type store. Good luck

When I have patients in splints I normally tell them to either take a bath and keep that extremity out of the water or you can take a garbage bag and place in over the arm and tie it up at the top of the shoulder to keep water out and shower that way. He could just use a washcloth once out of the shower to wash the broken-arm hand and arm pit area. Good luck!!

My husband fractured his upper arm & shoulder in three places.
I must tell you that it has been a long and painful 4 weeks now. BOREDOM had now set in! Yes...even at 48, they still want to go outside to play!
Bless you little guys heart! I hope that he feels better quick!

My 12 year old daughter broke her arm last spring (And my 6 year old son last fall....DSS will be at my door soon. JK!) We took a plastic garbage bag and they would stick their arm inside, then we just pulled it up above the cast and criss-crossed the ends and tied it. We didn't tie it in a knot that wasn't neccessary, but that worked fine. A small splash will not hurt it you just don't want water running down. Both wanted to bathe theirselves, but I washed their hair. HTH

My grandmother went through the same thing when she broke a couple of ribs and her arm between the shoulder and elbow. Because of her age, they had to put her in a stabilized sling to keep her from moving any part of her arm.

She chaffed badly!!!!

The reason? Because she was sweating where skin touched skin (like under her breasts and armpits or anywhere her cast met skin).

The treatment for any kind of chafing is to buffer the skin so that skin-on-skin contact doesn't happen. Powders DO NOT help!! As a matter of fact, powders contain an ingredient that irritate the skin more and create heat which really doesn't help if there's a rash going on.

The solution was to clean the area very well, dry it very well, then put an anti-chafing cream (like Monistat or Simply Delicate from AVON) on the areas where skin-on-skin contact happens. It goes on silky and dries within a minute and there's no gunky mess at all. I continue to use this under my breasts because it really works to keep rashes and irritations away. (I also use it as a make-up primer, believe it or not)

Also, you might want to use a milder shampoo (like Johnson's Baby) and a sensitive skin soap with no deodorants or perfumes to keep the itching down. Try a garbage bag over the splinted area to keep it dry when he's taking a shower. Dad might want to help out washing and bathing his back and legs but your son might want to take care of his own 'boy' parts and such. Try putting him on the kitchen counter to wash his hair as lying back on something would relieve tension in his neck, arm and shoulder from his splint/cast. Basically, give him a day spa treatment when cleaning him and have him be as relaxed and comfortable as possible. He's going to be in a lot of pain for a while, poor thing!

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