3D Hand Casting - Can you cast babies with open hands?

3D Hand Casting - Can you cast babies with open hands?

Author : Michelle Williams

I am often asked the question; "Is it possible to 3D Cast Babies with their Hands Open?"  The answer is, that it depends on the age of the baby.  If the hand of the baby that you are attempting to cast is 6 months of age or younger, then you're going to have a very tough time trying to convince the baby to open their hands! 

Most of a baby's early movements are instincitve and they will be unable to control them.  Babies are born with several reflexes, which decrease over the first few months, as they begin to gain more conscious control oer their movements.

One of these refexes is called the Palmar Grasp Reflex, which all parents will recognise.  You will notice this primitive reflex occur when you touch the palm of your baby's hand, their fingers will then curl around and cling to your finger or an object. This reflex disappears at about 6 months of age.

This is why achieving an 'open handed' 3D Hand Cast of a baby less than 6 years old is extremely rare. It is due to this reflex and central nervous development that when life casting a baby less than 6 months of age, the fist is most likely to be closed. However, as they become older, their hand will loosen as they begin to loose the primitive reflex and gain more conscious control over their movements.  

Some Life Casters will suggest, slightly pressing the Baby's palm to get an open fist, but in fact, this works against the very nature of the reflex and you will often find that although the baby's hand may be open before going into the alginate, in most cases it will not be, by the time the hand has come out and the mould has cured!

Therefore, for any customers demanding that they want a hand cast of their baby with their hands open, I suggest that you have a conversation with your customer, explaining the nature of a baby's primitive reflexes, in particular the palmar grasp reflex and the fact that you cannot control the pose or position of their baby's hand any more than the Baby can.

The best chance of achieving an 'open handed' 3D hand cast, is if the baby is VERY relaxed...and by this I mean, SLEEPING! ... and by SLEEPING, I mean SO SOUNDLY that literally NOTHING is likely to wake them!  In this case, then YES, you may strike lucky to discover, that when you come to demould your 3D Hand Cast, that the baby's hand was open. However, in almost 20 years of life-casting, I must emphasise,  that this will be very much the exception to the rule.

So the moral of the story; When you are casting babies hands and feet,  let the baby do what the baby wants to do. Let the Baby be guided by their own natural instincts and reflexes so that the life casting experinece is as relaxing as it can be for them.