Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't injure your child!!! How to properly pick up a child and avoid injury, a must read for caregivers and parents!

I apologize if I offend anyone however I would rather offend and help to educate than to see a child injured... enough is enough already.

Since I was about 8 years old I have been caring for children, babies especially. I also went to a college accredited tech school called The American Nanny Plan, Inc. (which unfortunately I cannot find online anymore but was a great school where I earned 24 college units in Early Childcare and Child Nutrition.) I knew immediately that the solution to finding a way to support my son and myself was to become a Nanny and a Preschool teacher, especially since that had been the extent of my work experience up until then, it was the only thing I really knew how to do! I became a Nanny as soon as I completed my education there and later when my son was older I became a Preschool teacher and was able to take my son with me everywhere I went. It was the perfect solution for me and I've been thankful ever since.

What really ruffles my feathers is seeing parents and caregivers of all ages improperly lift children. I had an advantage of the do's and don'ts but what I just don't understand is the lack of common sense and lack of parents and caregivers at least doing some research on the subject of parenting and / or how to properly lift a child. I would think that common sense would tell a person that if YOU can't be lifted safely off the ground by one arm, by your head or even leg, what makes someone think a young child can be? Because many young children can't openly object to the way they are being lifted, I feel compelled to be their voice. In all of my 30 years in child care I have used common sense as well as my education to help aide me but all of the education I've had has left me unable to know how to openly address my concerns directly with a parent or caregiver... I mean how do you tell a parent without offending them that they can dislocate their child's arm by lifting them or jerking them off the ground by one arm? 

I am addressing this concern today because I can no longer hold it in... yesterday I saw a father in a mostly dirt parking-lot carrying an infant of about 11 months in one arm and holding the arm of his second child, around the age of 2. The toddler's shoe was coming off and the distracted father didn't see it, instead the child was trying to fix his shoe by pushing the toe into the ground which caused dirt to scatter through the air... I heard the father sound irritated as he walked too fast for the toddler to keep up as it was, and he said 'Ugh, why do you keep doing that?!!!' with that, he turned to the child and pulled him up by one arm, about 4 1/2 feet off the ground (in a jerking manner) and picked him up. He dropped one of the child's hats on the ground and I quickly ran to pick it up for him, shouting to him that he'd dropped it and I'd get it for him. He was obviously frustrated and abruptly told me that 'he had it'; he refused my help as he bent over quickly, both kids being nearly upside down as he did... I tried to help lighten his mood by saying in a nice tone, that he sure had his hands full and he said that they would be even fuller soon as his wife is expecting another baby!!!!

Now as a mother I can understand how frustrating being a parent is and when I was a Nanny at one time I cared for a toddler of about 2, her newborn baby sister and my son who was about 8 months old at the time. I cared for them in my apartment which happened to be on the second floor (all they had available when I moved in) and I carried three children up and down the flight of stairs every day. I was as gentle as possible and did so out of fear that something could happen to the toddler if I left her at the bottom of the stairs or let her try to climb the stone steps alone, the safest alternative was to carry them all at once. I was successful and had no problems doing so.

I understand that sometimes our nerves are tested by our toddler's, especially if they seem to be dragging their feet, but there is no excuse for not doing research or using common sense to understand that you can dislocate a child's shoulder, elbow and / or wrist by picking them up by one arm. When I carried the three tots up the stairs, I had the baby in the crook of my arm and on my shoulder, body to body; my son holding onto me and me using my hand to help support him, again body to body and when I picked the toddler up I squatted down and scooped her up with my other arm and had her sitting on my hip, never once picking her up by the arm...


I did some research on Google before beginning this post and found little information on the subject however it is there. Most comments I found were from mothers' stating how their child got their arm dislocated by their father picking their child up this way, child care workers who wound up facing abuse charges and a post by a nurse explaining something called Nursemaid's Elbow which apparently is a ligament that becomes pinched when picking up a child by their arms instead of under the armpits. I also found a post by a grandmother who was concerned because her son-in-law picked up his toddler son by not only one arm, but by the foot and lifted him off the ground by placing his hands over his ears and lifting him by his head! Now in my opinion common sense would tell you that these are all very dangerous for a child! But like the saying goes, Common sense isn't so common! So here I am, risking offending parents and caregivers that believe this is acceptable, guess what? IT'S NOT!!!

I also am very bothered when I see parents and caregivers pick children up by their forearms as this not only looks painful but I've seen red marks left on childrens' arms after being picked up in this manner and this is another method that can not only cause the shoulder(s) to become dislocated, apparently it's another cause of Nursemaid's Elbow, causing the ligament in the shoulder to be pinched and apparently is very painful and requires medical attention.

So please, when lifting a child off the ground, out of a chair or out of their crib, pick them up under their armpits! This method is far less dangerous and less painful for the child. But please don't squeeze too tight as you could damage their ribs!
Also, when holding a newborn, please be sure to support their head!

I saw a father of 2 kids yesterday holding a newborn in his arm, with the baby's head dangling off his elbow, instead of resting within it. When I told him he wasn't supporting the baby's head, he looked at me like I was crazy! Really? Isn't that parenting 101? One should always support a child's head when carrying, lifting or holding a baby, especially a newborn. The rule of thumb on this one is, if the child can hold it's head up, then you don't need to support it... but until the child can support it's own head, it is always a must that you support it or you can cause damage to the neck and spine.

This link is for another blog addressing safely lifting a child and a news report on CNN: http://childcareanswers.blogspot.com/2009/04/safety-information-on-lifting-children.html

I've also personally visited my Chiropractor's office many, many times in the last 15 years to know a few things about picking one up by the head or neck... one of the comments placed by a mother in response to the grandmother's concern about her grandchild being lifted by his head stated that it's OK to pick a child up by the head since when they're born that's how the doctor delivers them.

For the record, let it be known that due to the head being pulled at child birth, a child's spine and neck actually become pulled, twisted and sometimes causes things such as allergies, learning disabilities, ear infections, ADHD, asthma, chronic crying (because of pain and discomfort) and pinched nerves which can lead to numerous health issues. My Chiropractor has pamphlets in his office about the problems child birth can cause and the list is extensive and some can be seen online at his website, link below.

It is actually recommended that babies see a Chiropractor after birth so that they can ensure the child didn't experience any damage or pinched nerves. I don't recommend just 'any' Chiropractor either, as a lot will just make adjustments without first doing x-rays to see what problems exist or can be out of place. I recommend a Holistic Chiropractor who also does Kineseology as they not only do x-rays before even touching a patient but they also do nerve tests to ensure what they are adjusting is needed and beneficial. If you're in the Vegas area, my Chiropractor is Dr. David B. Cohen and he can be found here: http://drcohenonline.com/

Here's the link for the video of the childcare center that arrested childcare providers for picking up children by one arm, amongst other reasons: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=6752955 the story shows that upon visiting the hospital the hospital contacted the police because the child was in massive pain and could barely move.

Here's a couple of links explaining Nursemaid's Elbow and both links offer other valuable information about childrens' health: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/kids-health/page.aspx?id=63917

http://www.kidsgrowth.com/resources/advicedetail.cfm?id=3424

God Bless!

Love & Light,

Shelle
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