New research commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association suggests that back and neck pain prevents a significant percentage of parents from picking up or carrying their children while other report problems carrying car seats and difficulty playing with their children because of pain.
In order to maintain a healthy back while parenting young children, the British Chiropractic Association urges parents to follow some common sense rules. For example, carry a baby as close to your center of gravity as possible, such as in a sling, papoose, or other style of carrier. Support straps that cross at the back are better for distributing the child’s weight.
Buy a stroller that has adjustable height settings so it can be moved to accommodate the height of whoever is pushing it so proper posture is maintained: walking upright with a straight spine with the hands resting at a comfortable height.
How Can I Prevent Injury When Caring for My Child?
Minimize bending over when playing with children by getting down to their level. That said, when kneeling be mindful to keep your back straight instead of hunching over. Also, kneeling for extended periods can put undue pressure on the joint so mix it up. Similarly, when picking up toys or otherwise cleaning up, don’t bend over at the waist; squat.
Chiropractor Kevin Loughlin observes, “As a parent myself, I understand how easy it is to put a strain on your back when looking after young children, as you are constantly carrying them from A to B, bending down to pick up their toys and generally attending to them. For this reason, it is important to ensure that you are not damaging your back in the process, and the BCA’s advice is valuable in showing that you can look after your health at the same time as looking after your children.”
As your baby becomes a toddler, picking them up and carrying them around becomes more strenuous. Chiropractors strongly urge parents to encourage toddlers to be as self-sufficient as age appropriate. For example, older toddlers can climb into a car seat rather than the parent picking them up and placing them in it. Fostering such activity is good for the child’s development and for keeping the parent’s back strong and healthy.