Tips for kid with broken arm? Updated, p2- party ideas?

hi friends- I know lots of folks have kids on this forum so I thought I’d ask for your experiences…

my DD broke her arm yesterday at camp. Broke both arm bones near the wrist. (one partially displaced, the other just cracked.) We go to the orthopedist this afternoon to get a hard cast. (she’s in a temporary cast/ sling right now.) it is her right arm, and she’s right handed.

Somehow I never broke a bone growing up. So I’m not sure what the drill is. Do they have water resistant casts these days? If I put a plastic bag over the cast and secure it with a rubber band or something, will she be able to splash in the baby pool? what about baths/showers?

How do I help her manage with her left hand? are we doomed to finger food for the next few weeks?

Do you have any tips/ suggestions for anything else I haven’t even thought of?

Thanks in advance, Marykz

I’m not sure what to tell you other than just roll with it and try to make the best of it.

My DD broke her leg last summer (she was 2) and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be - after the first few days she learned how to scoot around on her bum to reach toys and stuff and we could still do outside stuff as long as we kept the cast clean.


I had a cast on my arms 3 summers in a row growing up, I think it was 3,4, and 5yrs old. Not sure how old your daughter is… but when it comes to showers, her best friend will probably be saran wrap and tape. You really need to keep the inside fabric part of the cast as dry as possible.

Other than that, encourage her to try things with her right hand. It’ll help keep some of her muscles strong. Ooh… and make sure you keep some of those cheap nail files around. They work great for getting the itches. :slight_smile:

Poor Kayleigh!!!

Kids are resilient, I think she will pick up using her left hand quite easily. I would expect her to get a little frustrated at first that she might not have the motor coordination and dexterity she previously had with her right hand.

As far as getting it wet, I can’t help you there. When I broke my heel bone a couple months ago I was put in a removeable cast boot.

Good luck. Its not fun being hurt, but its also not fun seeing someone you love in pain!

I broke my wrists three times when I was a kid. And my nose twice.

No, casts aren’t really water proof. Fiberglass casts aren’t damaged by water, but getting the inside of the cast wet and then letting it sit on the skin for weeks while the bones heal will lead to skin rot.

So, plastic wrap or bread bags are a very good thing. I was pretty much stuck with baths, because maneuvering with a cast in the shower was difficult. We did go swimming a few times…me with a bread bag over my cast, rubber banded at my elbow. Even with the plastic, it’s a good idea to try to avoid getting it wet. Water has a way of creeping in.

As for eating…serve regular food. She will figure it out…after a few weeks, she will find that with the cast, there is a lot she can still do with her right hand. Eating with your left hand is slower, but it’s not like she will be accidentally flinging food across the room. Just don’t expect her to be able to use chopsticks.

Oh…and try to discourage her from scratching inside her cast. It’s tempting to shove pencils, wire hangers, etc into the cast to scratch, but it’s VERY easy to cut the skin and infection is very sure to come if you cut the skin under the cast. When she gets the cast taken off at the end you will see why.


Thanks everyone- I do have to remember kids are resilient and adaptable— I just hate seeing her hurt!!! Thanks for the good tips especially about not getting it wet and not scratching the skin too hard- skin rot = bad! I went and retrieved a bread wrapper that was about to be recycled and got some newspaper bags, and I’m looking for the duct tape! I know I have a stash of rubber bands in the junk drawer…

and Misty I had to laugh- now I know if she’s flinging food across the room -she’s doing it on purpose!!! LOL!!!

the hubby has been reminding me that he learned to do everything with the other hand as a kid when he tore all the tendons in his thumb, so she will learn too. I guess b/c I ‘m SOOO right handed I’ projecting a little bit.

It hasn’t really sunk in for Kayleigh that she won’t be swimming any time soon- which is a real bummer b/c she’s a little fish. and I’m not sure what to do about camp. She’s signed up for a day camp for most of the summer (so I can work) . I talked to her counselor a bit last night, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see what the doc says.

We are leaving for the ortho soon. if she feels up to it afterwards, we will go see the Ratatouille movie as a treat…

Thanks again everyone…

we use the glad press n seal to cover iv’s in the hospital. wrap it around, tape the top and bottom edges, off to the shower they go. i think she will adapt amazingly well.

as far as being doomed to finger foods, perhaps you could take it as a challenge to adapt your cooking for the next couple of months.

best of luck to you.

There is a waterproof cast available these days, but it costs extra. When I broke my foot last year, I got the “regular” cast b/c it was a workers’ comp case, & I knew they wouldn’t go for the extra.

We bought a box of large trash bags just to use for the cast (I had it for 2 wks) and used 2 for each shower. The first one got put on & tucked into the top of the cast. The second one went over it & was rubber-banded closed (we used 2 rubber bands). It wasn’t foolproof (there were occasional minor leaks) but overall it worked well.

I also broke my right arm as a kid (am right handed) when I was 10. They put a kind of splint cast on it. It was a bunch of plaster strips inside one of those sock thingies, molded to the back of my arm. A big ace bandage was used to hold it in place. That meant I could take it off at bathtime. I don’t recall having much difficulty doing things with it on, but that was nearly [SIZE=1]30 years ago[/SIZE]. :shock:

I also broke my left wrist the following year, & had a hard cast for that. Mom wasn’t sure where I got the klutzy gene from. :rofling:

Poor little Kayleigh!!! :hug:

I never broke a bone, but I did get my two legs in casts for weeks when I was 5 years old, after a surgery. I do not remember what we did for baths… :?? But I remember I was able to do a lot, even without my wheelchair. My little brother was playing with it all the time, so I had to find ways to move around. :rollseyes: :teehee:

I remember all my friends signed their name on my casts and drew on them too. I think my mom still has them somewhere. :rofling:

I’m totally sure she’ll get used to it, the first few days might be frustrating but I bet she’ll hardly notice after a while. Kids are amazing for that, they can adapt so easily! I think all she will remember after this experience is that she was very “special” with her cast and that everybody was taking good care of her. :hug:

Hope you DD is doing well in her cast and the orthopedic was able to answer a lot of your questions. Imagine they told you there is a Gortex cast available, but typically those are not put on as first casts. Our docs tend to put them on after the initial healing phase.

If you want something a but simpler than the bread bag and tape (been there done that) pharmacies do sell cast covers that are rubber and have reverse valves on them so you pull all the air out and it creates a waterproof seal. She should be able to splash in a baby pool and take baths with it on. If you are interested I can get the exact name of it at work on Monday.

Let us know what camp says about her coming with a cast on, I’ve never heard of one in my area saying no.

you guys are so great!!! :muah:

It was torture for me to watch the ortho “manipulate” the displaced bone back into place. But, I had to be brave and distract the little one. She was VERY brave. She cried of course, but was a real trooper.

Its interesting- we did not get a choice for a waterproof or not. It is a standard (but hot purple) fiberglass cast. The ortho said we have to come back in a week for more xrays to make sure the bones are still aligned properly. Maybe that is why we didn’t get a choice- if they have to re-do it, they won’t do the expensive one first. He said he thinks the cast will be of for 4 weeks, which isn’t too bad.

I’m thrilled to know the press n seal trick- and that there is actually something a little more durable out there. We have a couple medical supply stores in the area so I am definitely checking that out.

I’m going to call the camp counselor and work out a plan for her to go to camp and still be involved. They take 2 field trips a week to local pools, and have things like sandbox time, both of which aren’t a great idea for now. But I’m sure they will be open to working something out.

She’s adapting pretty well as you all predicted! after dinner last night we got ice cream, and as you can imagine, ice cream is a pretty big motivator- and she did a great job of eating it with her left hand. We told her she gets to use her imagination to think of fun things to do with one arm. So now, it is a challenge! :wink:

and now I’m motivated to make her a little cape to go around her shoulders when she gets cold. :rofling:

Thanks again- I really appreciate having a place to talk to friends, get info, and such good vibes… MKZ

I wish I’d known about that!! Filing it away for future reference…

MaryKZ, I’m glad things went well with the orthopedist. Four weeks will go by quickly. :hug:

Yay! K gets the cast off this Thursday!! (8/9)

To celebrate, we are having a “Cast Away Party” with her little friends. (mostly 5 y o girls) Now I need ideas! I am getting some tropical island party stuff from a friend (fake palm trees, leis, coconut cups).

I don’t want to go crazy, as this party is going to be this weekend, but any cute tropical island or Gilligan’s Island type games/ food/ decorations you can think of?

Somewhere I have an old “Mary Ann” costume from GI (I think).

We are going to have little swimming pools, an island sandbox, I was going to set up a minigolf course with some “tropical” obstacles…

I’m thinking hawaiian punch with little umbrellas, cubed fruit on little plastic sword picks, ???

I’m going to hit the party store tomorrow or Wed to see what is available.

she has been such a trooper with this cast. she adapted amazingly well, and hasn’t let the cast stop her from doing just about anything. Anyways- I’m ready for ideas! MKZ

It would be fun to have markers, construction paper and glue and to decorate a “ship” using a cardboard refrigerator box. Most stores that sell fridges would be happy to let you have a box.

They can play Message In A Bottle- a game where they write 3 things they like on a piece of paper, roll it like a scroll and put it in a bottle. Then you put the bottle
afloat on the “sea” (pool). A child gets to pick a bottle and
open it up. From the clue they try to guess who’s bottle it was.

The same bottles can then be used to make sand art bottles.

You can do a treasure hunt with clues and buried treasure like dress up jewelry.

You can hide pennies in the sand box and then have a contest to see who can find the most “treasure”.

oh yeah! We have a big moving box! we can have them paint it, and make flags for it and name it!

good thing I was too lazy to put out the recycling for this week- :shifty: we have some plastic soda bottles we can wash and use for this! I was thinking of having them list “things I would need on an island” but I’m not sure they would understand yet.

cool! Thanks SO much for the ideas!!!