Whether the kids are your own, your grandchildren, or the ones you’re minding for someone else, childcare can be back-breaking work. I have no statistics for how many child-lifting injuries we see in this country, but I’d put money on it being a significant number. So what can you do to protect yourself? How can you stop these wriggly creatures from damaging you?
Remember – its no fun looking after kids if your back is killing you!
Here are some ideas on how to prevent those injuries:
- A child counts as a heavy object. So take care when you lift them and as soon as they are big enough, teach them to sit quietly when you’re carrying them and not to wriggle.
- Try really hard not to lift them when you’re stressed or in a hurry – it’s when you’re not properly concentrating that strains happen.
- Keep your legs slightly apart as you lift children (or any other heavy object). If possible, try to keep one foot in front of the other.
- When you bend down to lift them, don’t stoop, instead keep your back straight and bend your knees – think of it as a work out for your quads!
- Do not twist as you are lifting. Lift first, hold them close and then turn – by moving your feet not twisting your spine.
- Alternate which hip you put a child on. Change which side of the car you put the car seat on. Feed from both sides of the high chair. We all tend to be one-sided in the way we do things and it’s not helpful. Changing sides helps you cut down on repetitive activities so you don’t continuously strain one side of your back.
- When handing things to kids on the floor squat down, don’t just lean forwards.
- And make a game of it, once they’re big enough, get them to climb up onto the sofa or a chair and pick them up from there, instead of up off the floor.
- Piggy backs are good as they keep the weight close to your centre of gravity – but don’t bend over with a child on your back and don’t twist your back getting them up or off!
Always bear in mind that you will be less useful to your children if you are injured. Back pain in particular can make caring for kids really difficult. So even when you’re tired try to think about your own posture and movement, not just what the small person needs.
There really is no scientific answer to solve every child-lifting situation. As I said, they’re heavy, wriggly and unpredictable. But I hope the above will help to keep you pain-free!