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Caring for Casts

Leaping off the deck à la Superman seemed like a good idea at the time -- but now your fearless kid has a broken bone. Most fractures require a traditional hard cast. Here's how to care for cast and kid, from James Beaty, M.D., former president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

  • Some discomfort during the first few days is normal, but your child shouldn't be in a lot of pain. If he is, or if there's swelling under the cast, or his toes or fingers are a lighter shade than normal, have the doctor take a look.

  • If your child had surgery, his cast probably won't be waterproof. A cast cover (about $25) will keep it, and his wound, dry.

  • Scratching can create little breaks in your child's skin, opening the door for infection. Benadryl can help (in age-appropriate doses).

  • Call the doctor if the edges of the cast are chafing your kid's skin, or if he's hurting in a specific spot, like the back of his heel or elbow. He could have a pressure sore that the doctor can relieve by making a small window in the cast and replacing the padding.

  • Keep him on the sidelines: Sports are out of the question until the cast is off.

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