Doctors of Chiropractic Offer Mothers Day Advice for Active Moms

ARLINGTON, Va., The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has Mothers Day advice for active moms who want more time to bond with their babies: take your child along with you when you take a walk or a hike -- but be careful that you do it properly. With new products unheard of a generation ago -- like baby carriers and slings -- even the tiniest among us are able to enjoy the great outdoors. But while these items can make life easier and more enjoyable for both parent and child, they can be the cause of pain and injury if not used properly. As many mothers know, backpack-style or front-side baby carriers can be effective tools for toting your little one. However, Dr. Scott Bautch of ACA's Occupational Health Council cautions that there are risks involved with the popular backpack-style carrier. "Because the cervical spine of a child less than a year old is not fully developed, it's important at that age that the head does not bob around. The backpack-type carrier is not ideal because the parent cannot watch to make sure the child's head is stable. So a front-side carrier is better for a very young child." Dr. Bautch also urges you to consider the following: * A backpack-style or front-side carrier decreases a parent's stability when walking or hiking. It is critical that a parent gets into shape before attempting to use one of these products. * Since these carriers will change the feel of walking or hiking, they should not be used by beginning hikers. * If using a backpack-style or front-side baby carrier, make sure to select one with wide straps for your shoulders and waist. This will help distribute the carrier's weight evenly. The shoulder straps should fit comfortably over the center of your collarbone. * Once you place the child in the carrier, check to make sure there is no bunching of material against the child's body, particularly on the back, buttocks and spine. Isolated, uneven pressure like this can produce pain. The "baby sling" is becoming more and more popular thanks to its versatility of positions and comfort. But if you wish to use a baby sling, keep in mind that it is intended only for very young infants, and be sure to follow these tips: * A baby can become very hot inside the sling, so be mindful of the temperature around you. Also, make certain the baby's breathing is clear and unobstructed by the sling's material. * Never run or jog while carrying a baby in any backpack-style carrier, front-side carrier or baby sling. A baby's body is not adjusted to the cyclic pattern that is a part of running and jogging. This motion can do damage to the baby's neck, spine and/or brain. Finally, don't forget about your own health and comfort. When lifting a child, bend from the waist, but begin in a 3-point squat and implement a two-stage lift that consists of a) pulling the child up to your chest and then b) lifting straight up with your leg muscles. Chiropractic Care Can Help If you or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from these or other outdoor activities, call your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages, and can provide health tips for you and your children that will make enjoying outdoor activities safer and more enjoyable.

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