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Children's Hospital of Michigan offering waterproof cast liners for broken bones

Smiling boy wearing a cast on his arm swimming underwater
Posted at 6:58 AM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 06:58:32-04

(WXYZ) — The Children's Hospital of Michigan is now offering patients an option of using a waterproof cast liner as an alternative to the traditional cotton cast liner.

Dr. Christopher Minnock, orthopedic surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, said the traditional paddings used for casts are made out of cotton and will grow bacteria and mold when they get wet. Minnock said the casts typically have to be changed within a few days to avoid significant skin irritation and infection.

However, the waterproof cast padding is made with water-repellent padding material that dries out and allows children to bathe, swim and exercise without the need for a cast cover.

“The number one question that I was asked last summer from families of patients with fractures was ‘We are going up north next week on vacation. Do you offer waterproof casting or some way my child could get into the water with the cast on?’ The answer every time was no," Dr. Minnock said. "The answer this summer will be yes – depending on the individual patient and fracture.”

Dr. Minnock said waterproof cast padding will eliminate the worry that parents have regarding keeping kids dry and away from water in the summer and avoiding additional visits to the clinic for cast changes on wet casts.

“There are cast covers that patients can buy online to try to cover a non-waterproof cast, but they do not work very well. You can only wear them for so long, and the ones that are effective can be expensive and still not work well. The waterproof cast padding eliminates the need for any of these products,” he said.

Children's Hospital says the waterproof casts are not suitable for all patients, such as those who have had surgery or a fracture reduction in the Emergency Department.

Patients at the Children's Hospital of Michigan who choose the waterproof casts will not face additional charges for them.