When caring for your child, you are most likely focused on his/her safety. Thus, caregivers often forget to ensure the proper body mechanics needed to keep themselves safe. Parents should remind themselves, however, that their health and safety are of utmost importance in maintaining their child’s well-being.
Caring for your child puts increased stress on your back, which may result in back pain or injuries. When your child is an infant, you may be lifting approximately 7 to 10 pounds about 50 times per day. By the time your child is 3, this number increases to about 25 to 30 pounds. Given the increased load and repetitive lifting, caregivers are at a great risk for injury if they do not use the proper body mechanics.
So, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are carrying for your child to make sure you are keeping your body safe.
- Avoid stretching your arms out to reach for your child. Instead, always get as close as possible to your child before you try to pick him up.
- When picking your child up from the floor or a low surface, lift by bending at your knees in a squat position, rather than bending at your back.
- When changing your child, do not lean over the surface area. You should adjust the work surface so that she is at the level of your navel.
- When feeding your child, keep both your and your child’s faces at even levels to prevent you from slouching over. When you are putting your child in or removing your child from a high chair, always take off the high chair tray.
- When putting your child in or taking him out of a crib, always put the side of the crib down so you do not have to bend over it.***(NOTE- these types of cribs are no longer legal in the US. Instead, make sure you hold your child close to your body as mentioned in number 1.)
- When transferring your child into a bathtub, sit on the edge of the bathtub with one foot outside of the tub and one foot inside the tub.
For more information on tips to keep yourself safe when caring for your child, please click Tips For New Moms.