Surviving a Toddler with a Broken Leg: What You'll Need

Last week, I shared the story of how my daughter ended up in a full leg cast

She is two years old (will turn three in February) and she is VERY high energy. In fact, we have a rule in our house that on the weekends we plan a morning outing, head home for a nap and then usually plan another late afternoon outing--just to keep her from getting bored and stir-crazy in the house. So you can imagine, that upon finding out that her tibia was fractured, and she would need to be in a full leg cast for 4-6 weeks... I started to wonder, "How the hell are we going to survive this?"

Luckily, my mom is an occupational therapist and immediately sprung into action around accommodations that would make Lu more comfortable and as independent as possible. 

So here's my lists of must-haves when dealing with a toddler in leg cast:

1. A jogging stroller. This is going to be the best way to transport your youngin' around. Jogging stroller seats are angled in a way that your child's leg can be stretched out comfortably without putting pressure on his/her cast, plus it's protected from banging into things. If you don't already own one, check out Craigslist or Facebook Yard Sales for a good deal on one. 

2a. A cast cover for bath time. Wet casts are a big no-no. I mean I've heard this before, but didn't realize how serious it was. Basically, if the cast gets wet it turns to mush and you will have to go and get it re-casted... so... no. While a garbage bag and some rubber bands will keep it dry for a sponge bath, I recommend investing in a real cast cover. I opted for the Limbo waterproof cast cover and it feels much more secure and so far has kept the cast very dry through several baths. 

2b. A baby bath seat. Depending on how big your kid is, this may or may not work for you. But I've used the Angelcare Bath Seat for both of my babies and it's coming in handy now for my toddler. This keeps her butt off the bottom of the tub, and I have her prop her covered cast up on the edge of the bath or on a step stool that I put in the bath. This way I can fill the tub up a few inches and she's not freezing while I wash her hair and body. 

3. Fun socks. You can store away some of the cute shoes you have for your little one because he/she wont be able to be wearing them for a while... at least not as a complete set. If your kiddo is in a cast in the colder months, fun socks in their favorite theme will keep their toes warm. I bought two packs of Ana/Elsa socks, one in her current size and one two sizes up and then I just pair up a small and big one from each pack for the day. 

4. Wider leg pants or cheap leggings. The time of year/climate will dictate what you need in the wardrobe department, but since it's pretty chilly outside, we headed to Walmart and purchased some wider leg sweatpants (for boys) and a few pairs of cheap leggings that I could cut to the knee so they would fit over the cast. If it was the summer, you could probably just get away with shorts and dresses and might not need to buy anything. 

5. A breakfast tray. This is most helpful for the first few days when your kiddo is feeling uncomfortable and not mobile yet. A breakfast tray allows them to sit on the couch for a meal or for some coloring time and keeps everything contained. 

6. A soft, low chair that tucks under the coffee table. For the first few weeks, Lulu's Anywhere Chair was the best way for her to be able to sit at the coffee table for crafts/coloring and be able to push herself out to scoot around. Now she can get on and off the couch, but she still likes to sit at the coffee table for coloring and snacks. 

7. Arts and crafts. If you haven't picked this up from the previous two items, to keep your kiddo engaged and entertained, you're going to have to pull out all of the stops in the arts/crafts category. Play-doh, Goop (cornstarch + water), floam, kinetic sand, watercolors, crayons, markers, puzzles, stickers... you name it, you should try it. It's going to make a mess, there's no doubt about that, but put a good vinyl table cloth down, cover the floor and chair if you have to and just let the kid go to town. 

8. A cast shoe. During our appointment with the orthopedist, he mentioned that kids Lulu's age will eventually put weight on the cast. He said it can't do any damage to the fracture, but to watch out for irritation on the top of the foot from rubbing and to keep an eye on the bottom of the cast for breakage. So during that first appointment we had the bottom of her cast reinforced and we were given a soft shoe that velcros around the cast and keeps it from wearing down. This has been helpful because it makes the cast less slippery on hardwood/tile. 

9. A small wheelchair (optional). My mom being an OT and all, immediately reached out to med supply companies to inquire about wheelchair rentals. Under my insurance plan, I was able to get a rental on a 12" wheelchair (it's truly adorable) for no money out of my pocket with a prescription from the doctor. It was our hope that the wheelchair might give Lulu some mobility around the house, but the truth is, it actually ended up being most useful when she is at preschool. Since her classroom is located upstairs and the playground/gymnasium are on the ground level--the teachers can take her from her class to recess in the elevator and not have to carry her up/down the stairs. Now, we leave the wheelchair at school and have the jogging stroller for any trips that we need to take during the week or weekends. 

So those are my tips. Hopefully, you never find yourself in the situation that you need them! 


  1. Thank you for your helpful post. My son sent this at 3 a.m. so hope sleepness nights ends soon. Our Lulu is 2 and half yrs, hope yours had a healthy recovery. Marie

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