How to Make a Sling

It's helpful to know how to make a sling in case you or someone else suffers a shoulder dislocation or arm fracture. A sling is used to hold and support the arm, and to keep it immobilized to stabilize it. This can be done before or after medical attention is provided.

Bleeding must be stopped before applying a sling. A dislocation, bone break or a severely bleeding wound requires prompt medical attention. These tips can be used to make shoulder slings in an emergency.

What You Need
Any type of cloth that can be cut or folded into a triangle can be used to make a sling. The size should be close to five feet in width, smaller if the sling is going to be used by a child. Enough length is needed to run from the arm to the back of the neck, with the forearm held at about a 90-degree angle to the elbow in front of the body. The sling shouldn't put pressure on the arm or pull it upward.

What to Do

  1. Be sure the cloth is in the shape of a triangle, by folding or cutting it to that shape.
  2. Position the person's elbow where the top point of the triangle is. The person's wrist should lie in the middle of the opposite side of the triangle, along the longest edge
  3. Take up the two other corners of the triangle. Bring one up against the person's body and behind the neck on the same side as the injured arm.
  4. Bring the other corner, on the outside of the injured arm, behind the opposite side of the neck.
  5. Tie or pin the corners behind the person's neck so that the injured arm is supported at a right angle by the sling.
  6. Check the injured person's pulse and the color of the skin to be sure that there is proper circulation after the sling is applied. The fingers should not go numb or tingle, and there should be a proper skin color in the arm and fingers, rather than red or bluish.

Be sure to seek medical attention promptly when an injury occurs. Making a sling is a temporary way to support an injury until the person can reach a doctor. Note that a sling isn't always necessary, but it is a good precaution to use to prevent an injury from becoming more serious.

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