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SpicaCasts.com is here to be a resource and support group for those parents who may be preparing for the process, or are in the process, or have already been through the process of correcting hip dysplasia on a child.

How to Get Prepared for Your Child in a Spica Cast

Sorry, I know this is pretty lengthy. Unfortunately, we felt like when we were writing this that none of these things could be left out because they are all so important. We hope it is very informative, none the less.

What to Bring To the Hospital

I would not worry about bringing too much to the hospital with you. It will just make more for you to carry around. The hospital should have just about everything that you will need such as diapers (large and small sizes) and food. I did however bring a few bottles for our daughter because she is pretty picky about what kind of bottle she will drink out of. If you have a picky child then I would bring your own. You will also need some clothes to bring them home. You will want to use clothing that is several sizes too big normally. For example, Lilie is 6 months wearing 9 month clothing, but I bought onesies that were 24 months. They still fit a little tight, but they work. You do not want clothing that is too heavy because it may make them sweat. This can cause their skin to break out causing sores which are very painful.

I recommend having feminine pads ready to line the cast with, but you are not going to need them at the hospital. There is going to be a lot of swelling around the incision area that will not allow you get them in place correctly. Use these once you get your child home.
I would also make sure that you bring something that is familiar to them. They won’t feel like playing very much, but that will help comfort them. I would just bring something small like a blanket, stuffed toy, or pacifier something like that.

You will most likely be spending most of your time standing next to their bed so make sure that you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will also want money for the vending machines because you may be up in the middle of night and need a snack to keep going. Caffeine can be a life saver during really long nights.

One of the problems that we had was people visiting that had been exposed to illnesses prior to coming to the hospital. I would recommend not letting anyone that has been exposed to any form of flu within the last two weeks to visit especially if it is the stomach flu virus. Our first daughter got a stomach virus from someone and became extremely sick in the following days. They are just too weak to fight off any kind of illness. It also made her cast smell from a mile away.

One thing that we learned this last time of surgery was not to be scared to tell the nurses what you need. They are there to make your child as comfortable as possible. If you feel that the pain medication is not working, do not be afraid to ask the nurse to call the doctor for other options.

Things For Home

One of the best things that you can do for the family is to prepare your home. You will want to have everything cleaned and disinfected for when you come home from surgery. I usually spray all surfaces areas with Lysol that day of the surgery that way when we come home everything is already germ-free.

I would also recommend preparing at least one week worth of food. It will be much easier on you if you do not have to worry about food for everyone. If you cannot prepare food in advance buy frozen foods that are easy to prepare. You are not going to have much time to spend on cooking, even if you and your spouse are working together.

You are going to need some place for your child to sit comfortably when you cannot hold them. The cast is always bigger than you think, so try to find something that does not have really high sides. Most of the time, you will not be able to use a swing, bouncy seat, or high chair because there is just not enough room. We have used a bean bag with both our girls and it works really well.

Buying all the things that you are going to need in advance will really help you when you come home. You are going to need two different sizes in diapers. A small diaper will work for the inside (Newborn to s.2) and a larger size for the outside (size 4 to 6). I also recommend buying feminine pads for lining the cast. It has saved the cast from getting soiled so many times. I buy Stayfree ultra thins with no wings. They are easiest to fit inside and relatively inexpensive. I also use medical tape to hold them in place on the outside of the cast. This not going to look great, but it is a necessary precaution to keep the cast as dry as possible.

I hope that this helps you with the preparation.

Posted on November 16th, 2009 under Information, Tips and Tricks | Comments: none

We Had a Better Experience This Time

Last time we had to go through with surgery on Natalie we had a pretty hard time. Natalie was constantly waking up and would cry every 5 minutes (no exaggeration). They would give her pain medication and would tell us that it could just be an affect of the anesthesia. We didn’t really think much about it until we told the recovery room nurse about that problem. We noticed Lilie wasn’t doing this. The nurse told us that often kids in spica casts will have muscle spasms. No matter how much pain medication you are giving, that doesn’t fix that problem.

You know what, as we looked back that is probably exactly what was going on. The nurses at the time just didn’t know what the problem was and didn’t know how to correct it. So, a quick warning when you go in for surgery and to have a spica cast placed on your child, if your child is waking up and acts like they are in pain every few minutes then this is a good possibility. You can make it known to your nurse and hopefully get some assistance with the problem. More to come about Lilie’s surgery soon!

Posted on November 10th, 2009 under News, Tips and Tricks | Comments: 2

Keeping Your Child Dry in a Spica Cast

My wife recently talked about how to keep your child dry with the use of feminine pads. There were some questions about exactly how it was done, so we took some pictures. Below is my wife explaining how we did it. I hope the pictures help!

Wife’s Explanation:

I am going to try to explain each picture the best that I can. This is Natalie’s second cast that the doctor’s office let my mom keep. Natalie’s second cast only covered part of her left leg so it looks a little different then a lot of other spica casts.

Spica Cast Back Spica Cast Top Spica Cast Top #2
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

You can see how the pads are placed through the back of the cast. You will put the cotton side of the pad toward their skin. You do not have to peel the paper off the back. This will actually make it more difficult to get the pad in the right place. Just use the white medical tape to keep it in place.

• Remember do not force anything in your child’s cast. If they do not slide easily into to place, you may have to find a different method.

Spica Cast Back Spica Cast Underneath
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

This area is the inside of the leg from different views. This is where you cut one pad in half. You place one half on the inside of the leg. You will want some of the pad on the inside and some on the outside. This will keep the material on the inner thigh area dry and the material on the outside of the cast dry as well. One pad should be enough for both legs.

I hope that this makes it easier to understand I know that doing all of this makes the cast really ugly, but the cast itself is not much better. It is the price that is paid for the comfort of your child.

Posted on January 16th, 2009 under Information, Tips and Tricks | Comments: 2

Being Prepared

This is kind of a false title because I do not know if you can be fully prepared to hear the news that your child may never walk correctly or with out pain. That is one of the first things that I heard the doctor tell me about Natalie. That is until he said “with out surgery of course.”

The word surgery slapped me across the face that day in the doctor’s office. I was so stunned I know I did not hear all of the conversation going on around me. Here I was bringing my daughter to an appointment where I thought the doctor would say something like “She will grow out of this, we only worry when the bones are curved as well” or “I think that if she wore a brace for a little while it will help.” I thought well she is only slightly bow-legged surely it will correct itself with out much help.

I was completely unprepared for the rest of the appointment. He brought in the x-rays and you could see without assistance that her little leg was not in the proper place. Her left hip looked perfectly normal, in the right spot, growing normally. Her right leg was nowhere near where it should be. It was like an inch higher than the other side. I was shocked. All I could do was sit there. I could not even form a rational thought. I just sat holding her in my arms thinking this is not happening.

I wish that I had known what I was walking into that day. I had asked my dad to drive us to the city because I did not know where I was going. I was so glad because he asked several questions for me. He made sure that surgery was necessary. He asked things like how long till she would recover. How long would she be in the cast? You know important questions that I could not even begin to put together. I was so very thankful that he was there with me and that I did not go alone. My original thoughts were that I would be going alone, thank goodness I wasn’t. I do not think that I could have handled it.

Many of you already know before you see the surgeon what you are dealing with. I wish now I would have asked her regular doctor to check her more thoroughly on that particular visit. Maybe I would have been prepared with some really good questions to ask when I saw the surgeon. Things like will she ever be able to play sports, or even run normally? If she falls down hard, will it hurt her badly? Will she grow up without pain everyday? Will she have severe arthritis when she grows up?

I could go on and on about questions I still have. I always forget to ask when we go because I am so happy that she continues to make such great progress. The best advice I could give to some one who just found out is to be prepared for the worst. Most of the time with this condition surgery will be required. There are some that are lucky and it can be fixed with a harness or brace. Write out your questions so that you do not forget to ask them. Ask questions about the procedure that is necessary for the correction.

Posted on December 19th, 2008 under Information, Tips and Tricks | Comments: 3

Scratchy Casts

Natalie never really complained or should I say cried a lot about the cast. She adjusted very well and very quickly. She learned how to crawl or pull her self along just after 10 days. She was very determined to move. She had just learned to walk along furniture and crawl two weeks before her surgery. She was not exactly happy when she woke up and could not move, but adjusted to it better than mom and dad did.

I was happy that she learned to move around on her own in the cast. The only problem was that sometimes she would pull thread like material free and cause a spot that would irritate her skin. She would not complain; I would just notice red spots where the cast would scratch her skin.

I would fix this problem by placing medical tape around the edges of her cast. This included around the chest, or waist. It would depend on where the top of the cast was at the time. I would also put it on the ankles. I do not know how but she always managed to latch on to some toy that would pull pieces loose. When she was placed in the second cast, she had her left leg free. This where I would put tape daily because she would use this leg to push off with. This side got the worst of it.

This was just a little tip that I thought that I would share with any one who might be having this problem.

Posted on December 12th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: none

Clothing Your Child With a Spica Cast

Spica casts are a bit annoying to deal with. They smell, they’re big and bulky, and they make it really hard to dress your child. They start at the chest and go all the way done to their ankles. There are a few modified versions that allow one leg to be free from the knee down, but most are completely confining.

It can be difficult enough to find clothes that fit over the top of this monstrosity, not to mention if that leg is free and it is winter. I had no choice but to put an entire outfit on her when we went anywhere because it was cold everyday. A one piece out fit works great if you are staying home, but she had to have some thing for that one leg. They do not make one legged pants at the store. I had to find something that would stretch far enough to go over the legs that were spread so far apart. I opted for stuff like leggings because they were thin and would stretch really far.

You still have to dress them light because indoors it is so warm that if you put sweat pants on them they are soaked. Not good for the child or the cast.

The time of year really does make a difference for clothing options. The summer is perfect because you can use one piece out fits for boys and cute little dresses still fit the little girls. You will want to buy them a couple of sizes too big. It is important that you dress them everyday though because you do not want food or toys to fall down into the cast.

Posted on December 5th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: 2

Another Resource to Keep Your Child Dry

We had a reader make a suggestion on how they kept their baby dry in a spica cast. We wanted to pass it along to others who might be preparing or trying different methods. I personally have not tried these, but it does make logical sense. According to Garren (our reader), she said that instead of using feminine pads to keep a child in a spica cast dry, she used TENA male guards. I had never personally heard of these but I did a quick search and found that they are available at lots of stores, including Wal-Mart.

Since spica casts are not pre-made, each one is unique. According to the reader these male guards are wider and a little bit shorter than a feminine pad. However, according to Wal-Mart there are different sizes, I suppose it may just take some experimenting to find out which ones will work for your childs cast.

Again, I just want to make the comment that I can not really vouch for these as we never tried them. However, you may find that for your baby’s cast that they are easier to use. The process is done the same when it comes to tucking them into the cast in a way that is safely done, but will hopefully protect your child from a skin rash and the cast from smelling bad.

Posted on August 7th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: 3

Cast Care Tips

Here is a list of helpful tips to keep everyone happy

1. Keep the cast dry - If the cast becomes wet, I suggest you use a blow dryer on cool so that you do not burn their tender skin. I did this often those first two weeks, but she was so sick that you just couldn’t keep it dry. So I came up with a different solution. Remember that your child’s cast can become wet from excessive sweat so dress them lightly even during the winter months. It is best to carry around a blanket then for them to be dressed in layers. Natalie developed her sores because of her Halloween costume. It was made of a thick material that made her sweat while indoors. It was perfect for outside unfortunately we were indoors most of the evening.

2. StayFree Feminine Pads - I placed stayfree ultra thin feminine pads on the inside of the cast. The pads would get wet or soiled instead of the cast. You can remove the pads, and the child stays dry and happy. Natalie developed sores before we could figure out the solution with pads. She now has scars on the outside of her hip from where she had either soiled the cast or it did not dry from the excessive sweat that her Halloween costume caused. They are in a place that while in the cast it was impossible to reach. I know this because I tried every possible way to get every inch of her cast dry and clean. Sometimes it is just not possible. Placing the pads on the inside of the cast may be slightly difficult for parents with larger hands. Detailed directions for this are at the end.

3. Baking Soda - You will want to keep some baking soda around for the smell if you cannot get the cast completely clean. This will help a whole lot with the smell. ONLY place the baking soda on the outside of the cast because their skin can be easily irritated.

4. Support Blankets - we did this because there are commonly weak spots in the cast that can cause breaks. If the cast breaks, a new will be needed to replace the broken one. This means more anesthesia for your child and the possibility of the hip coming out of place. This is unnecessary if you take the extra precautions.

5. Cast and Food - Do not allow food to fall inside the cast while your child is eating. A large t-shirt or a one piece outfit is the best solution for this particular problem. If food or small toys fall inside the cast, you child’s skin can become irritated or could possibly cause an infection.

Taking care of child in a spica cast can be difficult. I found that the one thing that kept everyone happy was to keep the cast as dry as possible. If the cast becomes wet or soiled it will become very uncomfortable for your child. Natalie’s cast was wet off and on because of a stomach virus in the first two weeks. I found once she was dry, she was a lot happier and everyday life became a whole lot easier. She was more willing to play by herself for about 30 to 45 minutes at a time before she became bored.

Directions for placing the pads on the inside of the cast are a little complicated to explain so I will try my best. You will need a total of three pads to fully protect your child’s skin.

1. Take a pad and cut in half. Take half of that pad and place on the inside of the leg so that half is inside the cast and half is on the outside of the cast. You will want it to be long ways. Then use white medical tape to tape it into place. The sticky part of the pad will only help a little bit that is why you will want more tape. Repeat this step for the other leg.

2. Now take the two remaining pads and slide them through the back side of the cast. The soft cotton side should be to their skin. You should have enough left over so that you can tape the pads into place on the outside of the cast. That means you will want them to be taller than they are longer. If that explains it, like I said it is somewhat difficult to explain. You will want to tape the pad into place so that they do not slip around and irritate your child. This may not be very pretty, but your child will be a lot happier if they are dry.

Posted on July 7th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: 2

Traveling with a Child in a Spica Cast

When Natalie had her surgery we did not really go anywhere for about 10 days. She really did not feel up to going any where. It can be difficult for them to get comfortable while in the cast. You also have to reposition them every two hours. This is recommended so that they do not get sores on the pressure points caused by the cast. This can make it hard to travel for long periods of time. I would not recommend going more than thirty minutes to one hour from home because the ride can be tough on the child. The special car seats that are designed for the spica casts try to make them the most comfortable, but too much bumping around can still make them very unhappy. This was sometimes the case for Natalie.

It can be difficult to travel with a child in a cast especially if you plan on staying for a short trip at a family member’s home, church, or a hotel. This is because you pretty much have to bring your entire home with you. That is what it seemed like to me any ways. You have to pack plenty of diapers because you have to change them so often. I always brought a bean bag for Natalie to sit in so that she did not have to be held most of the time. We also brought extra pillows that I made for her. She had three pillows that we took every where. You never know when might need to give her more support. The bean bag would fit around her to support her cast so that she could sit up almost on her own and play. The bean bag worked well at my parent’s house and at church. I know it sounds like a lot to bring for one place, but she liked to be able to sit up with out being held all the time.

The first cast she was in was really too big for her to fit any where. We had to bring her stroller for her to sit in at restaurants because she no longer fit in the high chairs. She did not fit in any high chair or any normal sized chair for that matter. We carried her stroller with some special pillows that I made to support her and the cast every where that we went. The pillows that I made fit under her legs and behind her back to give her some extra support when she wanted to sit up.

We read some suggestions of using rolled up blankets, but they always came unrolled during the move. I ended up placing rubber bands around the ends to keep them from unrolling. The rubber bands helped save a lot of time.

Posted on May 14th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: 7

How to Keep a Spica Cast Dry

It was only a 24 hours after Natalie received her spica cast that she would endure more difficult moments. The following day we found out that she had a stomach virus. This was a huge problem. She was making a mess of her cast. I had cleaned and cleaned and it was still gross. I did not know what to do because there is no information on what to do if your baby develops a stomach virus while in the cast. The poor baby was stuck in a cast that was full of you know what. That is when I cried for the first time. I was alone with a baby in full body cast who could not even sit up alone and she was stuck with no where to go. My husband had gone back to work, my mother was gone, my sister worked, every one worked. I felt terrible like I had let her down because I could not stop it or make it better for her. I used the blow dryer on cool air for hours to dry her out. That did not work at all and nothing else seemed to work.

I was so tired already and this was just the first week. I thought how in the world am I going to make it for 11 more weeks. I thought to myself she is already covered in poop, the cast stinks, and I can not make the diapers work. I was about to lose my mind until I remembered that the pamphlets suggest that you use a feminine pad inside the diaper for extra absorption. I thought this is what I forgot to do and this will make it all better. Well I was so wrong that I was out of my mind. This not only made her even madder because it was so uncomfortable, and it did not work good at all. I thought what in the world am I going to do to survive 11 more weeks of this. So I decided I was going to try to use the pads in a different way. I noticed that any extra moisture was going up her back and down her legs. I placed the pads in these areas. This was the best thing that I could have done for her and myself. The cast was no longer getting wet or soiled from extra moisture that the diaper did not catch. The second diaper is supposed to catch the extra moisture but guess what, it doesn’t. The only thing the second diaper does is hide the first diaper. I placed the pads with the cotton side to the skin and used medical tape to hold them in place. It was soft like wearing pants to her. This completely changed the whole experience for me.

It took three pads for one diapering session. Every morning I would change out the pads, but if they needed through out the day they were replaced as needed. I only changed the ones that were wet not all of them. I would cut one in half and place them on the inside of the legs. I would place them so that half was taped inside the cast and the other half was taped to the outside the cast. The other two where placed on the inside of the back of the cast. I would feed them through from the top and out the bottom. I would then tape them in place on the outside of the cast. This keeps them in place so that they do not fall off or rub her back causing an irritation. You can also spread butt paste to the ones on the back to keep her skin from getting irritated from sweating. The morning diaper change will take about ten minutes if not more to complete, but it is well worth the time.

I figured this method out about the time that the stomach virus was over. The stomach virus lasted like two whole weeks. I think some of it was linked to the anesthesia. I wished there had been this information available to me because it would have saved so much heartache. Natalie would not have suffered so much discomfort as well. By the third week she had figured out how to crawl, roll over on her own, and she was completely dry by this time. She still had to stay in the stinky cast for another three weeks, but we could survive the smell that slowly faded over time. A little baking soda on the outside of the cast helped a lot.

I hope that writing out our families experience will help you through the times that are about to come. There are going to be trying time, but just remember that you can and will survive if you remember to keep the baby dry. If the baby is dry everyone will most likely be happy.

Posted on May 7th, 2008 under Tips and Tricks | Comments: 9