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Ergonomics and child health
Ergonomic disorders & Risk factors
Analysis of child care environment
Injury prevention in child care
Infant lifting techniques
Other ways of preventing back injury and
pain during toddler care
Keeping the back healthy
Ergonomic products for baby care
Ergonomics is a way of designing the job,
equipment, tools and task to fit the worker
and help avoid injuries.
Ergonomics covers all physical aspects of a
biomechanical, including stress on muscles,
Sensory, including hearing and vision
environmental, including lightening, noise,
temperature and humidity
Caring for one’s children is among the
most ubiquitous of occupations.
However, few studies have examined the
ergonomic risks involved in parents
caring for children at home or care givers
at day care centers.
The purpose of this study was to identify the
frequency, type, and severity of
musculoskeletal symptoms in parents of
children less than 4 years old.
They further examined the factors that
contribute to musculoskeletal pain n
A convenience sample of 130 parents with
children younger than 4 years old completed
a seven-page survey that included questions
the parents’ demographics
their musculoskeletal discomfort
their performance of child-care tasks with
high biomechanical risks (such as carrying a
child in a car seat)
and parents’ perceived psychological strain
related to caring for their children.
Ninety-two percent (92%) of the providers
Sixty-six percent (66%) of the sample
reported the presence of musculoskeletal
The parts of the body most affected were the
low back (48%), neck (17%), upper back (16%),
and shoulders (11.5%).
The most common ergonomic disorders seen
in those who work with young children are:
Chronic lower back pain
Tension Neck Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Sick building syndrome
Headaches , fatigues and Stiffness
Burping Wrist sets in fast.
Risk factors are present: repetition, duration,
sustained force, and little opportunity for recovery.
These risk factors present fatigue development, and
further complicating the matter, consider joint laxity
(for moms), and the intense fear of not getting a burp
and dealing with the gastrointestinal consequences
later, ineffective job/task rotation (because what
doesn’t involve hands and wrists?) and the
requirement to simultaneously hold up that floppy
little head and body with the other hand. This
situation is the perfect recipe for injury. This is often
coupled with “Mommy Thumb” (de Quervain’s
tenosynovitis), where the pain is localized over the
thumb side of the wrist.
Discomfort, aching or burning sensation
within the wrist joint
Sharp or shooting pain
Reduced range of pain-free range of motion
Tender and/or tense muscles in the forearms
Numbness or tingling in the hand
Try to maintain neutral wrist postures during
repetitive and/or sustained activities.
Switch sides to help distribute workload between
right and left hands. For example, use your right
hand to pat baby’s back at one feeding, then use the
left for the next.
When lifting and holding baby, keep your thumb
close to your hand.
Use a baby wrap or carrier, even around the house.
Reduce, as much as possible, the length of time
spent carrying the bucket seat – a stroller adapter is a
Keep baby in close to your body when holding and
snuggling – use your torso and arms to help support
baby so your wrists can relax. Use pillows as well.
The baby holding posture typically involves:
shrugging the shoulders
bending the upper body forward
keeping the elbow at less than 90 degrees
and bending/twisting the head downward to
keep an eye on things.
In combination with prolonged periods of
time spent in these postures, supporting the
baby’s weight, and sometimes very little
opportunity to rest, it causes pain in neck and
Overexertion, lifting, carrying, and straining
cause back injuries in childcare workers.
The key workday factors related to these
the large difference in size between the
childcare worker and the child
the position of the worker in relation to the
how often the worker is lifting.
Carry child in car seat
Carry child on one hip
Carry child while bending down
Lift child up to or off a changing table
Lift child into or out of a crib with high sides
Lift child up from the floor
Stand bent over to wash child
Change child on floor, crib, or playpen
Open baby food jars and cans
Push child on a seated toy
Breast feed in an awkward position
Watch your “B.A.C.K” and consider the “SPF”—size,
position, and frequency—of each lift.
Challenge: The child is too large or too heavy.
Solution: Get help, re-plan the lift, or have the child
assist (with steps or a platform).
Challenge: to bend over or reach over something to
lift the child.
Solution: Bring the child close to you before lifting.
Challenge: I routinely lift a child.
Solution: Split up shifts or rotate duties if possible.
Performing repetitive motions, especially in non-
neutral postures increases injury risk even more.
Before lifting, move your torso towards the child
keep your back straight by bending forward from
your hips, keeping your back straight.
Tighten your core (back and abdominal) muscles
and pull the child into your body
Continue to brace your back as you extend your
back into a fully upright posture.
Release the excess tension in your core muscle.
Remember, to protect your back you need to
tighten your core prior to lifting and release the
excess muscle tension after returning to an
with your back
you lift, bend your knees
and keep the child close to you
Avoid twisting your
body when lifting
Point your feet in
the direction of the lift
Work with management to plan furniture
purchases for you as well as the children.
For example, chairs should be available with
an adult-size seat pan and back support, but
Reduce the size of heavy and wet laundry and
Replace large, industrial-size garbage cans,
with smaller trash cans to help reduce the
size of the load.
Don’t carry heavy
loads by yours Carry lighter loads
Use a cart, or get a
co-worker to help you
If possible, allow the child to cooperate and
come up to your level (e.g., use steps for a
toddler to climb up to the changing table)
Several changing tables are available with
steps that allow toddlers to assist themselves
with climbing to the changing area.
When teaching or working with children on
the floor or toddlers in child-sized furniture,
avoid stooping and sit supported on the
Avoid sitting on
floor too long
Use the wall,
or large pillow
Do stretching exercises
Use rolling carts or strollers to carry heavier
loads and children.
Instead of repetitive bending and stooping to
clean up toys, etc., incorporate this into
children’s clean up and have toddlers pick up
1. Put one foot next to
Keep your back straight,
push your buttocks out
and slowly lower
yourself down onto one
(For support as you
lower yourself down, put
one hand on a stool or
on your thigh.)
2. Position the child close
to the knee on the floor.
3. Slide the child from the
knee on the floor to mid-
Keep your head forward,
your back straight , and
your buttocks out,
and lift the child onto the
4. Put both of your
forearms under the child
with your palms facing
upward and hug the child
close to you.
5. Prepare for the lift:
6. Lift upwards following
your head and shoulders.
Hold the child close to
Lift by extending your
legs with your back
your buttocks out,
and breathe out as you
Use the pivot technique for lifts that require
you to turn
such as lifting an infant to the diapering
Twisting while lifting can cause serious
damage to the tissues of the back.
Use the pivot technique to avoid twisting
1. Properly lift the
2. Hold the infant
very close to your
3. Turn your foot 90
degrees toward the
way you want to turn.
4. Bring your other foot
next to the leading
Do not twist your
Avoid leaning downward from the waist to
reach for children.
Squat with feet shoulder width apart keeping
back straight and pushing your buttocks out
to bring yourself as close to the child as
possible, holding the child securely.
Tighten stomach muscles and looking
forward use thigh muscles to raise yourself
breathing out as you lift.
Store most frequently used and heaviest
items in an easily accessible area and at waist
Adjust diapering surfaces to waist height
when steps to the surface are not available.
Lower side of cribs to lift and lower child in
and out of the crib.
Use adult size chair seats with child size legs.
Avoid bending down at the waist to interact
with toddlers. Instead, assume a squatting or
Squat or kneel on a kneepad.
While sitting on the floor, when possible sit
against a wall or furniture or a pillow to
support the back.
1. Stand upright.
2. Place your feet a shoulder
3. Place your hands on your
4. Lean backward while
keeping your neck straight.
5. Lean further back until you
feel a slight stretch in your
6. Hold for a count of 5.
7. Return to the upright
8. Repeat 3 or 4times.
1. Lie on your stomach with your legs
straight and feet together.
2. Prop up your upper body with your
3. Push upward while keeping your pelvis
on the floor.
4. Hold for 5 seconds.
5. Gently lower yourself to the floor.
Remember to keep your forearms in
contact with the floor at all times.
6. Repeat 5 times.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat
on the floor.
Press your lower back onto the floor.
Grasp one knee with both hands and pull
toward your chest keeping your head on the
Keep the other knee bent and foot on the floor.
Hold for a count of 10 then return to starting
Repeat with the other leg.
Repeat 10 times on
each leg for 3 sets
Lie on your back.
Bend your knees at a 90-
Tighten stomach muscles
Slowly push your lower back
Hold your back in this
position for 5 seconds.
Slowly return to normal and
Different ergonomic products are used in
child care which can safe the caregivers and
parents from different risk factors of MSD n
Few important products are:
Ergonomic Baby Carriers
Ergonomic Baby Cradles
Ergonomic Baby Car Seats
Ergonomic Baby Bathtubs
Ergonomic Baby Pushchairs
Ergonomic Baby Highchairs