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If your child has been given a plaster cast, it is important to care for the cast correctly. The role of a plaster cast is to:
Elevating the limb in plaster will help to reduce swelling, so it is important to keep the limb raised above the level of the heart as much as possible.
Check your child's skin each day for any areas that seem irritated or uncomfortable. It is common for the skin under the cast to get itchy. If there is itchiness, try using a hair-dryer (on a cool setting) at the opening of the cast.
It is common to get some swelling of the fingers or toes around a plaster cast.
It is important to monitor your child for poor blood supply or swelling in their fingers or toes. If this happens:
If these symptoms happen, raise the arm or leg above the level of the heart and take your child to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Take your child to the GP or local emergency department if:
When you go home from hospital, you will be advised how long your child needs the cast on, and when and where to go to have it reviewed or removed.
Is there anything we can do to reduce the itch under the
You can try blowing cool air under the cast using a hair dryer. Only use the cold setting – never blow warm or hot air as it could burn the skin or crack the plaster. Antihistamines may be useful for reducing the itch. You can talk to your local pharmacist about a suitable antihistamine medication to use.
How should I bathe my child? Can I just put a plastic bag
over the cast?
Keep the cast clean and dry. When showering or bathing, seal the cast in a water-proof plastic bag with tape or a rubber band. Never immerse the cast in water.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Surgery division. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed December 2023.
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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.