The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center provides answers to frequently asked questions on cast care.
Care of Your Child with a Cast
Your child has been placed in a cast because of an injury or surgery to a bone or muscle. There are some issues that need to be addressed to assure your child's safety and comfort.
A regular (non-waterproof) cast becomes firm to the touch within 10-15 minutes after it is put on, but for the first two hours it is soft and can easily be dented or cracked. If your child has a walking cast (weight-bearing cast), he/she should not walk on it for two hours after it is applied.
An arm or leg cast can be protected with a large plastic bag during bathing. Cover cast with the bag and tape the opening shut. Even with a cast covered, your child should not place the covered cast in the water. Special plastic covers can also be bought at special stores (check with the orthopaedic nurse) but they too can leak when placed underwater. It may be easier for your child to take sponge baths while the cast is on.
If the cast becomes soiled it can be cleaned with a slightly damp washcloth and a cleanser. Your child should not put clothing over the cast until it dries. Protect the cast by covering it when your child eats or drinks. If a cast gets wet, immediately dry it with a blow dryer on the cold/cool setting. Children can be burned with a blow dryer on the warm or hot setting. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. The vacuum will pull air through the cast which is porous.