Usually used for the treatment of fractured femur.
The initial treatment of the fracture depends on the child’s age and weight.
If your child is less than 16kg and below 18 months of age the orthopaedic doctor may have requested that Gallows Traction be applied.
If your child is over 16kg and over 18 months of age your child will have a piece of equipment applied called a Thomas Splint.
Your child will have the traction applied once in the ward after being given adequate pain relief.
The procedure may be frightening for your baby but we will endeavour to make the process as quick and comfortable as possible. Gallows traction involves putting a piece of Elastoplast (sticky fabric plaster) dressing down each side of the leg – this has a foam piece between the two pieces of dressing that protects the ankle.
The leg is then bandaged to secure the dressings and provide comfort. The end of the foam piece has a string attached which will be used to secure the traction. Both legs will need to have the dressings applied.
Following the application the child will then have both legs lifted up and the strings threaded through pulleys which are situated above the cot.
Once the doctors are satisfied that the traction is even the strings will be tied. Your baby’s bottom will just clear the bed and your baby will be laid on the mattress. Your baby’s own body weight will provide the counter traction.
The nurse will show you how to tend to your baby’s needs – nappy care, feeding and bathing etc. Your baby will need to lie flat in the cot throughout the traction period in order for treatment to be effective.
The length of stay in hospital will be anywhere between two – six weeks. The orthopaedic doctor will try to give you a rough idea of the length of stay but this may change.