femur - Boston Moms Blog

I was in Chicago visiting family with my 2-year-old son, Dylan. All of a sudden I heard a horrible scream and realized something was terribly wrong. He had slipped on a wet hardwood floor and was writhing in pain. After rushing to the emergency room, I learned he had fractured his femur.

Fracturing a femur is really painful, and there’s nothing worse than seeing your child suffer. The two nights we spent in the hospital were some of the most awful nights of my life. I know some families have it much worse — I had to be grateful Dylan’s injury was only temporary, and even though it was awful in the moment, I knew he would heal and be completely fine.

The cast Dylan needed for his fracture is called a hip spica cast (used for broken femurs and hip dysplasia). It goes up to his chest, covers his fractured leg completely, and goes over the thigh of his other leg. This cast ensures his leg cannot move at all so that it can heal properly. Unfortunately, it also ensures that Dylan can barely move. 

When I took Dylan home from the hospital, I quickly came to realize how hard caring for an immobile 2-year-old would be. I am a stay-at-home mom, and we have no family in Boston. Since the accident happened in Chicago (where my husband and I are both from), I decided it would be best for me and Dylan to stay there for the six weeks he would need to be in the cast. My husband would travel back and forth between Chicago and Boston for work. I am extremely lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends in Chicago, without which this ordeal would have been 10 times harder.

It’s been a few weeks since Dylan broke his leg. Here are the things that have been the most difficult to deal with — and the things that have helped tremendously:

Hardest parts of having a toddler in a hip spica cast:

Lack of sleep

It’s like having a newborn again! Dylan wakes up multiple times a night and is regularly up for the day at 4 a.m. Thankfully, my mother-in-law will wake up early and let me go back to sleep after I’ve been up for a good portion of the night. My husband is also a huge help when he’s in Chicago and takes over nighttime and early morning duties when he’s in town.


For the most part, Dylan is amazingly happy given the situation, but he definitely has moments where he just melts down. It breaks my heart to see him so frustrated because he can’t move around like he wants to. I try to keep him as entertained as possible so the tantrums aren’t a frequent occurrence.

Being stuck in the house

I am trying to get out and about with Dylan (he can sit in a stroller and use a car seat), but it is difficult. He doesn’t want to sit in the stroller very long, he can’t sit in a chair or on the floor by himself, and he weighs over 40 pounds with his cast!

Things that have helped:

Ivy Rose hip spica chair:

This chair/table has been a lifesaver. It is specially made for kids in hip spica casts and allows them to sit upright unassisted. A table attaches to the chair, so Dylan can eat and play comfortably. He spends a good portion of the day in this chair, and I don’t know what I would do without it. 

Keeping busy

The days can be long, so in order to keep us happy I try to plan things to do every day. It can be hard to go out, so I invite tons of family and friends over to visit. Dylan loves seeing new faces, and it helps take the pressure off of me to constantly entertain him. I also found a speech therapist to work with Dylan while we’re in Chicago (he sees one in Boston), which Dylan loves.

Taking time for myself

It can be difficult to find time for myself, but I make sure there is something I can do every week without Dylan. It could be as simple as running an errand, exercising, meeting up with a friend, or going shopping. I greatly look forward to these outings, and they save my sanity.

Have you dealt with a child in a cast? What helped you get through this trying time?


  1. Hi Regina!
    I’m more than happy to chat and help out in any way I can. The hospital actually loaned us a special car seat (I can’t remember the name of it). Maybe you can talk to your doctor to see if they have anything like that!

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