Body Mechanics / Ergonomics / Tuesday's tip

Tuesday’s Tip: The car seat and the toddler

Transitioning from carrying your infant in the car seat carrier to wrangling your toddler in and out of the car is quite a change and can take a toll on back, arms and neck.  Toddlers are busy little people, try to be independent and definitely have their own agenda.  Use these tips to make the car transitions and car seat less stressful on your body.

The DOs of the car seat:

    • Put one leg in the car and face the seat as you are putting your child in the seat.  This position with one leg in the car will help take the pressure off your back.
    • If your car is tall and you are not, consider climbing into the car to avoid reaching with your arms or straining your back.
    • If the car seat is in the middle of the back seat, climb in and face the seat as you lift your toddler into the seat.
    • Allow your child to be as independent as their safety allows.  If you just need to help them climb into the car or the car seat, do not pick them if they are able to do some of the work themselves.

Tips to avoid the aches:

    • Avoid the twisted car seat lift.  If you lift your little one with both feet planted and turn to put them in the car seat by overreaching with your arms, you put yourself at risk for back, knee, arm, shoulder, elbow and neck pain. 
    • Avoid locking knees when reaching with the toddler.
    • Avoid overreaching with the arms.   Keep little one as close to your body for as long as possible to reduce the weight you are lifting with arms and neck.
    • Avoid rushing.  Take time to plan the lifting: clear toys and sippy cups out of the carseat first so you don’t have to stop and clear them mid lift.  Place diaper bag in the car before lifting, having hands and shoulders free.  Distractions and interruptions will only create potential for injury.

We understand you cannot lift perfectly all the time.  However the more often you do lift correctly the less likely you are to injure yourself.  Taking the few extra minutes to set up an ergonomic car seat lift will save you days of pain!

Resources: Kaboose.com, APTA.org

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