Tips for Hip Spica Cast Care

A hip spica cast is also called a body cast. It is used to prevent hip and leg movement after surgery or broken a bone. Follow these tips on caring for your child's hip spica cast.

Skin Care

Keep skin clean and dry. Eliminate plaster/fiberglass crumbs or foreign objects. Do not allow your child to place small objects down in the cast, which can cause severe pressure areas or sores.

Turn your child during the day to lie on his/her abdomen for several hours a day. Make sure a pillow is under the knee of the cast and under the chest when in this position.

Look and feel for skin irritations at cast edges and check for the following:

  • Swelling and discoloration of toes
  • Toes can move and are warm
  • Complaints of pain, numbness, or tingling

If a small child or infant is irritable or fussy, this may signal a problem. If in doubt about any of these things, consult your doctor.

Drying the Cast

Do not wet the cast. If it gets wet, expose the area to air or dry with a soft, fluffy cloth.

Cleaning the Cast

If the cast becomes soiled from bowel movement, it may be cleansed by using a damp (not wet) cloth with mild soap, such as dishwashing liquid.

Placing the Child on a Bedpan

Elevate your child’s head and shoulder by using pillows when he or she is on the bedpan. A folded diaper, soft cloth or gauze pad placed on the back of the bedpan will absorb any moisture and keep the cast clean and dry.

Protecting the Cast

On a baby or small child, plastic waterproof material may be used to protect the cast around the perineum and buttocks. A special diaper may be used on a child who is not toilet trained by folding a diaper in the form of a perineal pad and place it across the perineum, tucking it under the front and back edges of the cast.

It is essential that this pad or diaper be changed as soon as it becomes wet or soiled and should be inspected frequently for wetness. Apply petroleum jelly around the perineum and buttocks to avoid urine contact on the skin and prevent skin rashes.

To eliminate plastic crumbs and provide smooth edges for the cast, adhesive tape may be used to bind the edges of the cast. Wait until the cast is dry (at least 24 to 48 hours).

Other Instructions

  • Do not leave your child alone at any time.
  • Cleanse your child’s buttocks thoroughly after each bowel movement with soap and water. Keep your child’s skin clean and dry, and apply petroleum jelly around exposed buttocks.
  • Do not let your child attempt to walk or sit up while in the cast. It might break and would have to be replaced immediately.
  • Do not use the bar in the middle of the cast to carry or turn your child.
  • Give your child regular food, unless otherwise ordered. Please encourage your child to drink plenty of water and fruit juices.
  • Use baby powder under the cast to help prevent itching. Bathe your child by sponge bath wherever he or she is not covered with the cast.
  • Check for any foul smell around the area of surgery.

Notify your child's doctor with any problems or concerns regarding the care of your child in a hip spica cast.