Safe Use of Baby Gear
By Jenny Johnson – CC’s Staff
Safe Use of Baby Gear
As a mommy of a petite 10-month-old, I frequently find myself thinking “How in the world do parents of larger babies lug this stuff around all the time?!” All too often we get in a hurry, are carrying too many things at once, and forget about really taking care of OUR bodies when carrying children. The physical demands can quickly start to bother the knees, back, shoulders, and neck if we’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help minimize pain or future injury.
• Properly carrying a car seat
o In order to prevent injury and asymmetry in your body while carrying the car seat, try to keep it in front of you and centered on your body. Try keeping the handle down, gripping the head and foot ends, and carrying it like a laundry basket. If you want to use the handle, keep it perpendicular to and centered on your body, and hold in both hands with elbows bent. The smaller the distance between your body and the carrier, the less strain on your back. As always, remember to lift with your legs and keep your core muscles tight.
o When removing the child from the car seat, make sure to place it on something that is about waist height to avoid squatting to the floor or bending over.
• Carrying a child without the car seat
o We are all guilty of propping the child on the “shelf” of a hip in order to hold them while still having one arm free. This causes asymmetries in your body and can lead to overuse injury. If you need to use this method, try to alternate sides that you carry the child on. Better yet, use a front or back carrier so that the baby is safe and close to your body while still allowing for better posture and body mechanics, and more freedom of movement to get your stuff done.
• Making sure your stroller fits YOU
o Although it’s tempting to buy the stroller that looks cool and can turn on a dime, make sure that it fits your height and allows for a comfortable stride. Avoid hunching over, locking elbows, and extending wrists backwards while pushing the stroller. Instead, keep your head and chin up, shoulders down and back, like you’re tucking your shoulder blades in your back pockets. Keep arms slightly bent with wrists straight and engage your whole body not just arms. If you’re running with the stroller – especially uphill – lean forward by bending at the hips and not the low back and keep your body close to the stroller.
If you have further questions about proper posture or mechanics when on the move with your kiddo, ask one of our physical therapists at CC’s!
Post Author: Jenny Johnson
Jenny is a DPT, wife, baseball lover, kayaker, dog wrangler, and new mom to sweet baby, Bria.