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How to Properly Lift a Child

New parents expect sleepless nights, frequent changing of diapers and endless crying, but most are unprepared for the physical challenge of carrying and looking after a toddler full-time, or even just for a couple of hours a day. As difficult as it is for parents of young children to look after their own health and remember to think about important things like posture, one of the biggest causes of back injuries is lifting and handling – especially children! Lifting and carrying your baby or child can lead to a number of problems including back, neck, shoulder and arm pain. Adding to the problem for moms is that, during pregnancy, the flexibility and posture of the body changes dramatically. And as your child continues to grow, they also get heavier making you more susceptible to injury. The simple answer would be to stop the aggravating activity – lifting or carrying your toddler, but in reality this is not going to be possible and not an answer! So what can be done? There are a number of steps that moms and dads can take to relieve pain and improve their body mechanics to reduce the chances of injury. Prevention is the key to avoiding injury or preventing recurrence of an old injury. So how do you go about preventing these injuries? Follow these tips:

  • Be careful when lifting

  • don’t bend from your hips, use your legs and keep your child close to you, injuries will occur if you pick your child up with your arms outstretched.

  • Kneel or squat where possible

  • when buckling your child into a car seat it’s a pretty awkward position to stand outside the car and twist in. It’s much easier and better for your back to try and kneel or squat in front of your child.

  • Check your breastfeeding posture

  • whilst breastfeeding make sure you are sitting straight and lift your baby to the breast, don’t lean over bringing the breast down. Use pillows to make yourself comfortable and try and sit in a chair with a firm back to support you.

  • Never twist whilst lifting!

  • Always lift and then turn.

  • Don’t overdo it

  • take a break when and if possible.

  • Avoid standing for long periods

  • this increases the pressure on your back. Keep mobile and enjoy gentle exercise such as yoga, walking or swimming to keep your muscles and joints flexible.

  • Alternate arms

  • when carrying your child, try not to lift for long periods on just one side

If you do notice your body being out of whack and giving you issues be sure to get in to see a professional like a chiropractor!


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