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Three Year Old Son in a Leg Cast

My three year old son just got a cast on his leg. Although it is a walking cast, the doctor told me that he can not bathe, swim, go on any play structures or in any sand. Unfortunately he goes to pre-school and half of their morning is spent on the playground (where there is sand). Does anyone have any experience in dealing with a little one in a leg cast? Did you find a way to allow them to continue pre-school and playground time? And how did you bathe them? I cancelled his swimming lessons but I know he would be so disappointed if he cannot return to school for the remainder of the school year! Thanks so much for any advice you can offer.

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My daughter had both of her legs in walking casts to fix an achilles problem. It was very hard for her at preschool because of the sand situation. Her teachers were nice enough to keep her occupied with other activities, but she felt she was being punished. It's a hard situation. As far as the baths. I would wrap the casts with saran wrap and basically give her sponge baths.

I don't have experience with it as a parent, but I do remember when my brother broke his leg at age three. It was amazing how well he got around...they actually had to put him in a new cast midway through because he had worn through the bottom of the first one. I swear the kid still ran around...I bet he'll adjust just fine...

-M

Hi working as a CNA dealing with casts sponge baths are the easiest but you can put a plastic bag on the cast and tie snuggly on the top of the leg and short showers with a sprayer on the head will work keeping the cast and leg dry using a small chair in the shower and keeping the leg out of the tub just in case. It is hard at that age because they are active finding fun games and projects can help and the school should have some ideas and be able to adapt with a special friend to spend time with him, Good luck it will be a learning experience for both of you and unfortunatly a early lesson in disappointments. Good luck

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I don't have experience with it as a parent, but I do remember when my brother broke his leg at age three. It was amazing how well he got around...they actually had to put him in a new cast midway through because he had worn through the bottom of the first one. I swear the kid still ran around...I bet he'll adjust just fine...

-M

I would ask the preschool if he could stay inside with another class while his class plays outside. That way he can't harm the cast or his leg on the playground or in the sand. If the school can't accommodate that, then I would ask to pick him up when the others are playing outside or just not send him. The healing of his leg is very important, even though the restrictions can be a pain for everyone.

Hi M.,

When I had my cast (back in the 3rd grade), my mom would put a plastic bag over my arm when we went swimming, or took a bath. It worked pretty good. Except you have to make sure the bag does not have any holes in it! (fill it with water and if it leaks, then either double up, or use a different bag. but then turn the bag inside out and use it that way so the cast doesn't get wet.) Most Pre-schools are willing to help out and use the bags when they go outside, so that would work too! The bag we used was a popcorn bag we got from a movie rental store, but you can buy them at most Walmarts, (the popcorn is already popped). Those bags are a little heavier than a grocery bag and we had fewer leaks, and bigger too. We still went swimming, but we kept a good eye on it, and baths were not a problem either. We never used it when we went playing in the sand, but I am sure it would work fine!

Hope this helps! Good luck to your little guy! It is no fun being restricted to certain activities because of a cast, just make it fun for him anyways!

My son was in a cast from his nipples to his ankles when he was 3. I bathed him on the kitchen counter and made everything an "Adventure" Since he is my youngest, I was able to go to preschool with him and play games with him during the outdoor time. Since he is your oldest, this may not work for you, but maybe the school can make arrangements for him to "Visit" another classroom during his outdoor time, again, another "adventure" for him. Put a positive spin on it for him and it will make it easier for you too! Good Luck! The time will go faster than you think.

my three year old daughter just got out of her arm cast, but we were able to bathe her the entire time, thanks to my sister.

she got us a Dry Pro waterproof body protector (888-337-2724 or www.DRYCORP.com) for her arm (i am pretty sure that they also make them for legs) what it does is vacuum seal the cast and keep the water out. my nephew went water skiing and para sailing and many other things with his. my daughter really enjoyed being able to get her arm wet with it.

i hope it helps and good luck

M.

I was a preschool director for a few years before I had my daughter. The center can make accomodations for you and your son. When the other children are outside your son can visit another class. If the otherclass is younger than tell your son he is going to be a helper for a little while everyday. There are always other things for him to do instead of beong outside. In my experience letting him outside but tempting him with the playground is not only frustrating for your son but also for his teacher. For boths sake I suggest keeping him inside. Once sand gets in his cast everyone is gonna be miserable.

Talk to the teachers at the school. Many times, there are ways to engage a child inside by having him/her be a special helper during breaks, or perhaps they can organize some other outdoor activities at picnic tables (away from teh sand hopefully) that he could participate in. Maybe they could blow and chase soap bubbles on the basketball court instead etc. Tell them the challenge, they've probably seen it before and should have some good ideas to help.

When my foot was in a cast, I made the mistake of NOT investing in a waterproof cast cover and just using 2 black garbage bags with duct tape to cover the cast for a quick shower. All it took was one little gap and my cast was SOAKING wet. I couldn't feel the water going in as my foot was rather numb from being in the cast for so long... of course it had to be removed.

As far as school goes, likely a large adult sock and 2 thick plastic bags (the first will snag and open), will cover his foot and can be taped down. His pant leg can be taped to his cast as well. Sand in the cast would be torture and for a 3 yr old, it is a minefield out there.

Good Luck!
L. P

Regular white trash bags will become your new best friend. My 5 yr old broke both of his arms in the same weekend! For showers, we literally double bagged the cast(s) and tied it off at the top (double bag in case there is a leak in the first one). Unfortunately, due to school policies (concern that he might accidently hurt someone with one of his casts) he had to sit recess out. You really could do the double bag thing for playtime too (remove it when he returns to class). Good luck to you, the time will go faster than you think and you will end up with many funny stories!!

Have you thought of wrapping his leg in a trash bag or at least wear sand and stuff could get in. and to bath him you can just do a sponge bath or wrap his leg up in a ta=rash bag.

My mom did this for my brother with his arm so he could bathe.

Ok...so when I was younger I was in a full body cast for a year!
Since at 1st I wasnt allowed to put any weight by standing up, my Mom would bathe me with a tub of warm water mixed w/ a little liquid soap but not too much since it was too hard to rinse me off.
Later into the year I was allowed to stand up and she would put a hole in the bottom of a trash bag and slide it over me and tuck it around me kind of like a halter dress (yes, this could result in a little water getting in).
Since I wasnt really active around this time, she would use baby wipes in between days since bathing was such an ordeal!
Your little 1 is only in a leg cast so what about putting an armless chair in there (or see about renting something from a Health Place) and having him sit on that w/ that leg sticking out?
Either use something to pour water on him (like a big plastic measuring cup so it will hold alot but not break and they usually have a spout vs bowls).
Or get a hose put on your shower head...you'll want towels and/or rugs in front of the tub!
Good luck!

how about putting one of your husbands sock over the foot of the cast and keep him in jeans. the concern is sand in the cast can get moldy. My son broke his arm and I would just put a bag over the cast, tie the top and secure it w/a rubber band (not too tightly of course). sometimes i would shower him in our bathroom w/the showerhead that comes off. Good luck.

Hi M.,My 3yr old daughter also was in a cast twice last year.She broke her leg than that to have surgery once the break healed. It was a long ordeal. She continued school and was banned from the sand (although we did find sand in her cast when it was removed.) Baths were moved to the kitchen sink where I washed one end than flipped her over to wash the other. Mommies come up with very creative ways to get the job done. Hope that helps. J.

Hi M.,

I don't know quite how to deal with the playground situation. Have you spoken with the teachers at the school? Maybe they'll have some suggestions.

I can tell you what we did about showering when my son broke his leg at almost three years old. Every night all three of us would get into the shower together. We strapped a heavy weight garbage bag over his cast (lighter plastic is easily torn by the roughness of the cast itself) which we tied on with a bunch of twist ties we hooked together. Our son sat on my lap and Daddy did the washing. When Daddy and Aaron were clean, they got out and I got to finish up my own shower. It worked pretty well because, with him sitting on my lap, he couldn't fall and his leg was in a position where the shower water didn't run directly down into the bag. Good luck and happy healing.

M.

Hi M., with the warmer days coming, your son is going to be un comfortable in that cast, and more so if he can't bathe, when my son broke is arm, we were told the same thing, well we just put a plastic bag over his cast, and used the shower nozzle where we could control where the water went, worked out great, as far as they playground goes, ask the teacher if they can put a center out side, of puzzles, finger painting, something he could do out doors with out feeling left out of the out door activities. J. L.

I wrapped my daughters arm cast in a plastic trash bag and secured it with a rubberband and she was able to run through the sprinklers without the cast getting wet.I don't know if that would work with a leg cast. When I broke my leg I put my cast leg up on the side of the tub to keep it dry.I put a large thick sock over my foot and the bottom of my cast to keep it clean. I also used my drum stick to itch inside the cast when it was pretty old maybe 4 or 5 weeks of wearing it. Good luck,D.

Dear M.-
My son Nick lived in a spika cast for the 1st 3 years of his life, due to congenital dysplasia of both of his hips. His cast went up to his back, under his shoulders and down both legs!!! The cast is no big deal. As long as you keep it as clean as you CAN considering the age of your son, things will be fine. On top of that my son walked , heck he even ran, ALL the time. Even when the bar was between both legs and one leg was casted sideways my son walked. Unless there is a specific reason your Doctors dont want your child to walk, let him do what he wants. My son had 3 older brothers and trying to STOP him was impossible, to say the least. A good thing to keep around in lambs wool, if the doctor didn't give you some you can pick it up most anywhere medical supplies or even ballerina shoes are sold...Yep its the same stuff ballerinas use to keep their feet from getting damaged. I put it all around the openings of my sons cast and changed when necessary. It comes in a large square & you cut to fit. This sams kid suffered several broken arms at school as well...and the trick is to treat them normally they are NOT made out of glass and I never had to worry about his cast breaking, cracking or fraying (lambs wool helps allot w/fraying edges). So anyways I think the only thing you need to worry about is him putting sand down his cast or random toys. The toys are the easy part the sand not so much. Please don't be afraid to take him to the park or around grass,he needs to be the little boy that he is. Anyways, best of luck to you & your son.

M.

my 4 y/o son has an arm cast on right now. we took him to the beach with it, but we were super paronoid that he would get sand in it. this is what i would do. make sure he's wearing long pants and a sock up over the pants. then, we took Glad Press N Seal and wrapped it around. after that, we took a gallon size plastic bag and duct taped it around the opening. it worked. i'm not sure if his teachers would be willing to take such extremes and even one particle of sand would make his life miserable. i have 3 kids even closer together than yours and i know that his going to preschool is probably more for your sanity than for his (although i'm sure he loves it too). could he go to another classroom while his class is on the playground?

Here is a product some of our network families have used with success:

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Hi M.,
Boy are you gonna have some stories to tell next year! Poor little guy. Kudos to you, you've got a full plate and you still seem to have a strong, positive attitude.

I had three close together just like you do. I never had one in a cast, but I've spent a lot of time in leg casts myself, so I can give a bit of advice about cast care.

Preschool:
If you can stay at preschool a few days a week then it will allow you to help your son work out solutions to his cast-challenges. (I hung out and helped the teachers a LOT when my kids were that age.) It will also keep the other two little minds active (babies dig preschoolers, preschoolers dig babies). See if there's a way you and the preschool can work something out?

Covering the cast:
Check with your pharmacy or medical supply store -- ages ago, I had a rubber sleeve that pulled right up over the cast. It had a very narrow neck, so it fit tightly round my thigh (even after atrophy). It was hideously yellow -- like a giant dishwashing glove. But it worked! Not for submersion, but allows a nearly normal shower. They also make these for arm casts -- which would be roughly the same size as a 3-year-old leg, right? I Googled a few keywords and found this site (and looks like they've improved the color range!) It's a starting point, anyway...

http://www.allegromedical.com/personal-care-c532/showersa...

Otherwise, the trash bag idea works if you're very careful. Use the kind of medical tape that removes easily. No other form of binding worked for me - until the cast protector. The trick is to avoid water streaming down the leg against the edge of the tape. With the leg raised, most water will flow at a 90 degree angle to the tape-- down toward the tub, not toward his ankle. As long as you keep that angle, you're set. But make it a quick scrub.

Also, just a hint you may already know: this is the time to enlist the talents of your two-year-old. Make sure he's your 'right hand man,' able to come to the rescue of his brothers -- in return for simply mind blowing praise. You need an extra pair of hands, no matter how small -- and he needs a way to be a star. This is the age when I started calling them my 'team' and getting them excited about 'pulling together' and helping out. (Ironically, we don't play a single team sport.) To this day -- like 20 minutes ago -- that single tactic brings me help and solace in the most surprising ways. They're still my little team and they pull together most unexpectedly. :-)

GOOD LUCK -- and have fun, no matter what!

:-)

Hi M.,

To bathe him (and maybe even swim???...check with doc 1st) you can try putting a small plastic garbage bag around it and sealing it well with electrical tape. My mom did that for my sis and I when we had casts on...we always thought it was kinda fun. You can buy all fun colors of tape and bags to make it fun for him. He can use that to keep sand out of it to play also...he can probably continue school just make sure teachers know to be careful. Good luck!

My little girl had a walking cast on her leg at about the same age. She was also disappointed in missing all the swimming, as this happened over the summer months.

For bathing: We were lucking enough to have a large counter and kitchen sink. I sat her in the sink, with her casted leg on the counter, wrapped in a plastic bag for extra protection. I had her lay on the counter with her head back, to wash her hair. She had really long hair, so it was tough. I imagine with a boy, that part would be easier. We also did sponge baths. I know that there are cast protection covers out there, we just really didn't need to get one. You might ask your orthopedic Dr. for one, or look online.

Sand box and play structures: I explained to her how important it was to allow her leg to heal. We can play on those things when her leg was all better. At 3, he is smart enough to understand that he can't go in the sand box until his leg is healed. My daughter was still able to go on the swings and the slide. If the school playground is completely all sand, ask if he can stay in, maybe in another class. If they can't accomodate; keep him home for the few weeks or pick him up early.

Hi working as a CNA dealing with casts sponge baths are the easiest but you can put a plastic bag on the cast and tie snuggly on the top of the leg and short showers with a sprayer on the head will work keeping the cast and leg dry using a small chair in the shower and keeping the leg out of the tub just in case. It is hard at that age because they are active finding fun games and projects can help and the school should have some ideas and be able to adapt with a special friend to spend time with him, Good luck it will be a learning experience for both of you and unfortunatly a early lesson in disappointments. Good luck

M.,
My two year old boy is currently in an arm cast. He has a green limb fracture from falling on an exposed tree root. First, I must tell you the little ones do get frustrated because they are not as mobile as they were before. It is a little more difficult because the casts are rather bulky and confining. His bathing pretty much consists of sponge baths (if the cast should get wet, the Doctor said using a hair dryer to dry it off immediately works best. If the cast is still wet or damp after a couple of hours of initaling becoming wet.....you need to take him back into the Doctor to have a new cast put on.

My son still gets outside playtime.....but very, very supervised. The problem with the little ones getting fractures is they can easily fall on the same spot and completely snap their little bone in two. We are also very careful should he be playing with a friend......they do not understand this young that their cast can hurt other people.

I would talk to your sons preschool, give them the conditions the Doctor has laid out for you, and first see if the preschool can handle his care well enough. If they cannot then I would schedule playdates for him at your home.

Hope this helps somewhat!

K.

My daughter had both of her legs in walking casts to fix an achilles problem. It was very hard for her at preschool because of the sand situation. Her teachers were nice enough to keep her occupied with other activities, but she felt she was being punished. It's a hard situation. As far as the baths. I would wrap the casts with saran wrap and basically give her sponge baths.

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