Looking after your child's splint

This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) provides information about looking after your child's splint and gives instructions for wearing it and looking after it. 

What is a splint?

A splint is usually made of a plastic material and moulded individually onto the affected part of the body, often the hands.

Splints are used for a variety of reasons such as preventing or correcting deformities, supporting inflamed or weak joints, protecting the hand from injury (especially post surgery) or improving hand function.

The occupational therapist will explain the reasons for your child needing a splint and show you how to use it.

Looking after the splint

  • It is important to keep the splint and skin under the splint clean. 
  • Unless there is a dressing to cover a wound, wash the area as normal and make sure the skin is completely dry before putting the splint back on.
  • Wash the splint in luke-warm, soapy water and allow to dry in the open air. You may need to clean the skin and the splint more often in hot weather.
  • Do not expose the splint to open flame – some materials used to make splints are flammable.
  • Do not place the splint in direct sunlight or near any direct source of heat as the splint may change shape.

You should call your occupational therapist if:

  • The splint is too small, worn out, does not stay on properly or the position needs adjusting.
  • There is a red mark on the skin (due to pressure or rubbing) which does not disappear within 15-30 minutes of removing the splint.
  • Your child develops a rash under the splint.
  • You child complains of pain, swelling or numbness around the splint.
Compiled by:
The Occupational Therapy Department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
June 2014