How to Waterproof My Child's Arm Cast

By Katy Doran

There are few things more frustrating, for both parent and child, than the trauma and recovery from a broken arm or leg. Even if it isn’t summer, curtailing water sports and activities, there is never a convenient season of the year. Showers and baths can’t be put on hold. There is a range of commercial products for waterproofing casts (see Resources listing) that cost approximately $10 - $35, but do-it-yourself is the most affordable option.

Plastic Wrap Waterproofing

Unroll a few inches of plastic wrap -- enough to lay the sticky edge along the length of the cast.

Wind the wrap around the cast several times, pressing it snug to the cast with your hands as you work all the way around.

If the cast is longer than the width of the plastic wrap, keep covering it in progressive layers up or down the length until it is thoroughly covered.

A final round at each end should extend beyond the edges and adhere snugly to the skin. This final seal is more comfortable to remove than any kind of tape. If you want a little extra assurance, you may add a round of tape over that final seal.

If the cast includes part of the hand, it will be difficult to seal these edges. Slip a disposable vinyl glove on your child’s hand and add another round of plastic wrap or tape to seal the cuff.

Plastic Bag Waterproofing

Use a bread loaf bag for a child’s arm and hand; a sturdy trash bag will fit well over the foot when if it is a leg cast. This time-honored method of waterproofing casts for both adults and children and is recommended by Varsity Orthopedics.

Carefully inspect a used bread bag to make sure it has no tiny holes or tears that might leak water inside.

Slip the bag over the cast and secure the whole end by wrapping with a round or two of tape, overlapping the edge to adhere to the skin. You might use a hair bungee or rubber band before taping, but be sure it is not too tight.

Tips

If your market doesn't carry freezer-weight Press 'n Seal, plan to use a few extra rounds of the regular weight.

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