Babies-Toddler Vivian | 05 Sep 2010 10:13 pm

Child Car Seats – Great For Kids, Bad For Backs

Getting your child in and out of a car seat can literally become a pain. In fact, many parents of young children report developing back pain from constant bending and twisting when transporting their kids. This, combined with additional strain from regularly carrying a child or diaper bag, can really do damage to your back. Thus, it is important to follow a few key safety tips to save yourself some pain.

The movement you make when maneuvering a child in and out of a car seat is entirely unnatural. It commonly involves holding significant weight at arm’s length while bending low at the waist. In this situation, both your weight and your child’s are placed on your back without proper support from your hips and knees. This can lead to dangerous strain on the joints and muscles of your back and pelvis.

To avoid straining your back when maneuvering your child in and out of a car seat, make it a habit to rest your knee on the seat for support. Additionally, it is important to get as close to the car seat as possible when putting a child in. Holding a child with arms extended can lead to a strained muscle. By moving in closer, you can bend your arms for more support. Finally, never grab a child with only one arm. This not only places you off-balance, but can hurt the child you are picking up.

Handling the car seat itself can also lead to injury. When installing or removing the seat, be sure to lift it with both hands. You may find also it easier to install the seat from inside your vehicle, rather than leaning in from the outside. If you do stay outside, squatting down at the knee is less hazardous than leaning over, which places all your weight on your back. To make installation easier, see if your vehicle can accommodate a LATCH system car seat. These models do not use the car’s seat belt. Instead, they are put into place using anchors built right into the car.

If you use a seat that doubles as a carrier, you should be especially careful with how you hold it. An infant car seat can weigh more than twenty pounds without anyone inside. Add your child’s bulk, and you can be carrying a lot in one arm. This can hurt your posture and leave you with an aching spine. To avoid excess strain, try carrying the seat in front of you with both hands. If this seems awkward, carry it with one arm, but bend at the elbow and use your forearm for support.

There is no way to get around using a car seat. Not only is it the law, but these safety devices really do save lives. Unfortunately, these seats are not designed to save your back. However, by implementing these suggestions, you and your child will be a little more comfortable each time you drive.

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