Many children who sustain a fracture to an arm or leg as a result of an accident have a good chance of having the fracture improperly splinted.
Statistics show that almost half of all boys and a quarter of all girls will fracture an arm or leg before 16. Properly set, the fracture heals rather quickly with little residual problems. However, in a recent study from the University of Maryland (pediatric bone specialists) more than 90% of children with fractures had their bone improperly splinted. As a result, further complications such as loss of motion or skin grafts can occur.
Dr. Josh Abzug, who directs pediatric orthopedics at University of Maryland believes that improper splinting occurs from a lack of education in some situations and a lack of attention to detail in others. In addition, in many situations a doctor or health care worker splints a fracture with instructions for the parent to follow-up with an orthopedic the next day. However, the follow-up does not occur right away and complications set in.
Dr. Abzug believes that posters or flashcards in an emergency room or urgent care center outlining proper splinting can minimize the problem. He further advises parents to listen to their children. Should a child complain of lots of pain (crying) or major swelling/discoloration occur in the split area, Dr. Abzug advises to immediately proceed to the emergency room. Time is of the utmost importance.