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Having your child get hurt has to be up there for the worst experiences as a parent. After you get over the shock and worry of the injury itself, another unpleasant thing may be dealing with something like a toddler with a broken leg, which presents all kinds of changes to your daily routine.
Back in May, Graci fell off of a play structure at our local park and ended up fracturing both of her ankle bones. It was hands down one of the worst days of our lives.
When we left the hospital at 4 a.m., we had to turn her carseat so that she was facing forward because she couldn’t fit in the car with her whole leg in a cast. (She was 23 months at the time, so it was only a little earlier than we had planned). And that was only one of many changes that were to come in the days after.
If you are facing a toddler with a broken leg, I’m so sorry for your little one and for you as well! It’s my hope that the following tips will help you survive the experience!
1. Don’t expect to get much done.
The first few days with Graci in a cast were difficult. It was hard to make her happy, and it was super difficult to get anything done, because one of us felt like we needed to watch her constantly in case she tried to get up and walk on it.
During this time, give yourself permission to just get through it. Don’t try to be supermom and get stuff done – just be with your little one. All that stuff will be there when you both have had a chance to heal from the experience. (After all, parents go through a lot when their little ones get hurt.)
2. Find ways to keep your little one entertained.
It was incredibly difficult to keep Graci entertained and sitting still once she got hurt. Here are a few things that you can try if you need your little one to take it easy but they’re still trying to go:
- Watch a new movie together
- Grab some new toddler art supplies (check out my entire post here)
- Purchase a new toy (check out my toddler gift guide for some ideas)
- Try a new snack – we purchased snacks that weren’t as healthy but were new and novel
- Give in to a little more screen time on a tablet (it’s not forever!)
- Find toys and games that you can do together (we played trains, Duplo Legos and puzzles)
3. Expect bath time to be more complicated.
Be sure to ask your doctor about any advisories that they have about bath time with a cast.
For the first couple of weeks, Graci was in a cast before she was eventually transitioned into a walking boot. We were so happy when Graci transitioned to a boot because it meant that we could remove it and give her a bath like normal.
However, we learned quite a lot during the time that we were bathing her with a cast that I’ll share below!
The number one priority during bath time is to keep the cast dry.
To keep the cast dry during her “bath,” we employed a few techniques:
- Wrapped her “cast” leg in a trash bag and made sure it was tight around the top of the leg above the cast. (Make sure not to get it too tight that it hurts your child!)
- Used a towel to wrap all of the above (for extra protection), and sat her in the bath tub.
- We used a shower hose to direct the water everywhere OTHER than the cast area and did not fill the tub with water.
- Instead of a long bath filled with a lot of play, we made sure to do bath time as quickly as possible since it reduced the chance of anything getting wet under the cast and because wrapping the leg in two layers made her leg get hot, quickly.
4. Ask your doctor for full care instructions, including what pain killers you can use.
One of the things that we wished we had talked to our doctors more about before leaving the hospital was pain medication. The nurse told us what over-the-counter medications we could use, but we wished that we had talked to the doctor about a more in-depth care plan because the early days were ROUGH.
If you’ve found yourself in the same situation, where you didn’t think to ask enough questions at the time, don’t feel weird calling to get more information now.
Have you had a toddler with a broken leg? If so, I’d love to hear your tips below!