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How to Wear and Care for a Splint

Wearing a splint helps your child use their hands and arms better. The type of splint and when it needs to be worn depends on your child’s needs. Some children will wear the splint only when they are awake and active. Others may wear a splint only at night. Splints can be soft and flexible, and others hard and rigid.

Your child’s therapist will give them a splint that is the exact type and size they need. Your child will learn how to put on the splint and when they should wear it.  

How to care for the splint

  • Clean the splint with soap and lukewarm water and scrub it with a small, soft bristle brush.
  • Wash the Velcro straps by hand with lukewarm, soapy water.
  • Let the splint air dry.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to wipe down the inside of hard plastic splints to reduce odor.
  • To keep the splint from melting or burning, keep it away from heat or flames. Do not leave it in a hot car, and do not put it near a water heater or a radiator.

Things to watch for

Your child’s splint should not cause pain or discomfort. Watch for problems such as:

  • Areas of redness, blisters or sores that do not go away within 20 minutes after taking the splint off
  • Swelling
  • Color change in the hand or arm, looking like the blood is not flowing well
  • Stiffness, pain, or losing feeling in the hand or arm

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, have your child stop wearing the splint and call your child’s therapist right away.

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Key Points

  • A splint can provide support and help your child use their hands or arms.
  • Follow your therapist’s instructions for when and how to wear the splint.
  • Watch for problems such as redness, blisters, pain, or swelling.

Reviewed: September 2022