Hip spica (baby)
Home preparation and safety prior to discharge
The vehicle used for transport home should be large enough so your child can lie along the back seat. Safety belts should be used.
- Prior to discharge the nursing staff will tape the edges of the plaster with waterproof protective tape which will stop the edges crumbling and also stop the plaster rubbing.
- Make sure your child does not use sharp objects (rulers etc) as “scratchers”. If itchiness is a problem, please contact your doctor.
- Travel is not advised. A signed medical form from the doctor is required regarding travel.
Mobility and positioning of a child in a hip spica
- When your child is on their back, one or two pillows should be used under the head and shoulders to position them. They should be placed in a semi reclined position.
- Do not allow your child to sit up, bend at the waist, kneel or stand in the hip spica. This places stress on the plaster and may lead to cracking. Small children should not be nursed upright in parents arms, but rather “cradle” carried for the same reason.
- Use a small pillow or rolled up towel to prevent pressure on heels and rub heels two to four hourly with lubricating cream.
- When turning your child from back to stomach, turn on side with plastered leg passing over the top of the non-plastered leg.
- Note: For children in a double leg hip spica, do not use the “broomstick” (bar used for separating legs) as a handle for turning. Nursing staff will instruct you as to how to turn your child in a double leg spica.
Skin care, bathing and toileting
- Your child should be sponge bathed daily ensuring plaster is kept dry at all times. Sponge time is a good opportunity to inspect plaster for any signs of cracking, softening or areas of rubbing. Contact your doctor immediately if this occurs.
- The child’s skin should be checked daily for any signs of redness or irritation caused by the plaster.
- Disposable nappies are easier, you may need a larger size than usual. Use a double nappy (a panty liner) inside the cast and a nappy over the top of the plaster. This should minimise the chance of the plaster becoming wet, soiled or smelly.
Diet and eating
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids and to eat fibre foods (e.g. wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables) to prevent constipation.
- The best position for eating is on the stomach.
- Avoid crumbs as these may get under the plaster and become uncomfortable.
Avoid small toys which may find their way inside the plaster. If anything is lost down the plaster, please go to your closest hospital that treats children for an x-ray.
Removal of hip spica
The hip spica will be removed when the bone has healed, usually about six weeks. A special electric saw will be used and works by vibrating. The saw is very noisy, and your child could be frightened by this. It is important to reassure your child that the saw will not cut their skin.
The skin under the plaster will be dry and flaky. Apply moisturising cream at least three times per day. An x-ray will be taken of your child’s leg at this time.
To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.
If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.
Mater Children’s Private Brisbane
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Telephone: 07 3163 8111
Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: HOSP-008-06199-19
Last modified 17/11/2015.