Spica Cast Advice

What to expect (and how to cope) when your child with
congenital hip dysplasia is placed in a spica cast.

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Car Seats for Spica Cast Children

When it comes to safely (and legally) transporting your child in your car, most (if not all) standard car seats are ill-equipped because of their thigh and hip-hugging designs. Traditional car seats and other special needs car seats have often proven ineffective in transporting children with Hip Spica Casts, Broomstick Casts, and Ilfeld splints in the car.

Fortunately, Britax USA and Snug Ride got together and designed the Hippo Car Seat. The Hippo Spica Cast Car Seat is the only approved car seat that ensures transportation for children in most casts, while protecting them from additional trauma (user manual). However, since this is a specialized car seat, it is somewhat expensive, so you might want to check eBay before paying the full list price on a new seat ($500).

Hippo car seat for spica cast

Per the Manufacturer...

The Hippo Spica Cast Car seat complies with FMVSS-213 standards. The maximum user height for the Hippo Spica Cast Car Seat is 49" (122.5 cm). This special needs car seat can be used in the following configurations only:

  • Rear facing (must be reclined) for children 5 lbs. (2 .3 kg) to 33 lbs. (15 kg)
  • Forward-facing (reclined) maximum weight is 33 lbs. (15 kg)
  • Forward-facing (must be upright) user weight is 34 - 65 lbs. (15.5 - 29 kg)


  • The Hippo Car Seat has only been crash tested and approved for use in the USA.
  • You must still comply with US FMVSS-213 Standards that require ALL children to be positioned in the rear-facing direction until they are 20 lbs. (9 kg) AND are at least 1 year old.

Other Alternatives

Some parents have suggested that certain Britax car seats models (like the Marathon) and most Diono car seats, provide low enough side "wings" that you could effectively put a child in a spica cast in this seat. Alas, we have not tested this but the overall idea does not sound very safe given that there is a commercially available spica cast care seat on the market.