Children are a pain in the back!

Most mums who suffer from back pain think it’s directly related to their children, according to a survey by charity BackCare.

More than 1200 mums were surveyed, and of those who complain about back pain, 83% said it was caused or exacerbated by their children. Mums cited pregnancy as well as the day-to-day lifting and carrying of their children as the main reasons but the survey highlighted a significant proportion of these mums (73%) also link back pain to pushing, folding or lifting pushchairs.

Sash Newman, Chief Executive for BackCare comments, “A pushchair is one of the most important pieces of baby equipment a parent buys – they will be using it constantly for years, not just months. If you choose one that has the wrong handle height for you, is too heavy, or is difficult to fold and lift then you could be storing up some real
problems for the future.”

In response to the survey, Backcare has joined forces with buggy specialist Maclaren to
create these top tips on what to look for when choosing the right pushchair plus general tips on how to care for your back when looking after young children.

Top ten tips on choosing a buggy that won’t hurt your back

  1. Look for a buggy with good handle height to keep yours arms in a good pushing position – this will help keep your head, neck and back in the correct alignment.
  2. When pushing your buggy you should keep your shoulders down and relaxed and your elbows in.
  3. Make sure the buggy you choose has a frame that allows you to swing your legs fully in front when walking.
  4. Opt for a lightweight buggy, especially if you are always lifting it in and out of the car.
  5. Make sure your buggy is easy to fold/unfold.
  6. When lifting your child try not to bend over, instead bend at the knees and squat next to your baby. Hold your baby close to you and straighten up from the knees. ‘Bend your knees, not your back’ is the key to lifting small children.
  7. If you are picking up a toddler, put one foot in front of the other, bend at your knees and encourage them to ‘walk’ up your front leg.
  8. Avoid carrying your child on one hip – instead carry them in front of your body with their legs around your hips.
  9. Exercise your back regularly – many exercises and activities can help you keep your back fit and healthy. Yoga, walking and swimming are particularly popular.
  10. Use a well-designed backpack, such as the one BackCare has available** that spreads the weight evenly over your shoulders to carry your baby equipment – not a single sling bag.

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