We all want to include our young children in our outdoor activities, whether it’s biking, jogging or just walking in the park. There is a seemingly endless array of strollers, baby joggers, carriers and bike trailers that allow us to do this. But keep in mind that these baby carriers are not without their potential risks to both child and adult.
According to the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, spinal cord injuries are more likely to occur in developing children, especially in those under the age of 12 months. According to Dr. Gerard Clum, spokesperson for the foundation, “Parents should always be aware of how a device positions a child’s neck or spine, and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using a stroller or comparable equipment.” Here are a few other tips from the foundation:
Make sure the child is always properly secured in the device. In addition, check to be certain that the child’s head is not bobbing around. This is why backpack-type carriers are not ideal; you can’t see if your child’s head is stabilized. Front-carriers are preferable, particularly for very young children. In addition, consider the size, weight and age of the child when selecting your carrier or stroller; it should be appropriate for the activity in which you wish to include the child.
Also be aware of your own safety when selecting a device or maneuvering your child in or out of it. Avoid carrying or pushing anything that may be too heavy for you, and always practice with the device before attempting to use it with the child. When lifting children to place them from a car into a carrier, don’t bend from the waist, stay as close to the car seat as possible, and place them into the carrier without reaching, stretching or twisting. The farther the child is from your body, the greater the strain on your spine.