If you have kids, chances are you’ll wind up taking at least one of them to the Emergency Room, and leaving with that child in a cast. According to Wikipedia, about 15% of all childhood injuries are fractures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_bone_fracture. There are many types of breaks, ranging from what’s known as a hairline fracture, (a very thin break where the bone stays in place), to much more complicated breaks that might involve surgery to put the bone back where it belongs. Sounds bad, and for any parent who sees his/her child in pain, it is. But the good news is that children’s bones usually heal very quickly, and with the right treatment should heal as good as new.
So what, as parents, can we do to help our child heal? A couple of things…
- Make sure your child eats a balanced diet, including the RDA of calcium and Vitamin D.
- Rest the limb as much as possible, use a sling when recommended.
- Ask about possible treatment plans – depending on the fracture there may be alternative treatments available to speed up the healing process (although children’s bones heal faster than adults anyway).
- Keep the cast dry, and notify your doctor immediately if it gets wet, breaks, cracks, or starts to fall apart.
- Ice the cast. Even through the cast, the cold will help with any swelling.
- Don’t allow the child to poke anything under it to scratch. It’s going to itch, but instead of poking anything under it, try using a blow drier. Blow cool air between the skin and cast. This should help.
- Notify the doctor if there is an increase in pain or numbness, or the fingers or toes become pale or turn blue.
- Follow your doctors recommended treatment plan, while healing and after the cast has been removed.
- Let them know that the limb might look a little different when the cast comes off, but it won’t last.
- Check with your doctor to be sure it’s ok to return to normal activities and any sports your child is involved in, while healing and afterwards.
That trip to the ER isn’t going to be easy, for you or your child. But by following a few pieces of advice, the bone should heal as good as new in a much shorter time than the same break would heal in an adult. So do what you can to keep your kids safe, but know that while not inevitable, there’s a good chance your child will break something at some point. They’ll heal, and you can help them with that process.