Protect Your Back: Vol 1 -Car Seat Tips

So after getting some feedback from fellow Mom’s out there I was asked to write a post on how to avoid back injuries and ways to make life a little easier while caring for your little one! Having a weak core combined with increased lifting and carrying is a recipe for disaster. Follow these tips to protect your back and not go to bed sore every night! I will post these in segments so today we will focus on getting the car seat in and out of the car.

The Car seat

So if you are like me and out and about all the time the infant car seat can be your best friend. Baby is sleeping? No worries, we will just bring her out in the car seat! I soon learned that this 30-pound back wrecking torture device is my worst enemy.

Common Mistakes

  • Mistake #1: Not engaging your core while lifting the car seat out of the car.
    • I only have one child so it is recommended to keep the car seat in the middle seat, which sucks for getting it in and out!
    • How do people most often hurt their back? I always think of a BLT sandwich, Bending, Lifting and Twisting It’s these motions that when done incorrectly (or all at the same time) can cause lower back pain and strains. Which coincidently is exactly what we do when we get the car seat out of the car!
    • How to fix this
      • Get as close to the object you are lifting as possible (in this case, the car seat). By putting one leg into the vehicle you can get your center of mass closer and maintain a straight back while engaging your core in order to lift the seat out of the car.
      • Do this in 2 steps. Slow down; think about what you are doing. Lift the car seat out of the base, place on the seat, then get it out of the car, take a deep breath and engage your core before lifting.
      • Don’t twist and swing the seat over your side. Remember a car seat plus baby is almost 30 pounds, if not more! You would never do a motion like this with a 30 lb. weight at the gym would you?
      • If you have a low vehicle, make sure to squat down and lift the seat with both arms as if it is a big medicine ball. This will not only save your back but also your shoulders!
  • back safety getting car seat out of car
    Get as close to the object as possible, put one leg in vehicle if you can and keep a flat back. Use your whole body rather than just your arms.
    back safety getting car seat out of car
    Keep a flat back, engage your core and stick your butt out slightly!
    back safety infant car seat
    Hold object as close to you as possible, use both hands, stand up tall, and keep your core muscles engaged!
    • Mistake #2: Carrying the car seat on one side of your body.
      • Come on, we all know this MUST be bad for us but when we are in a rush we do it anyway. Not only is this extremely hard on your spine and can cause muscular imbalances and strains, it is also very hard on your shoulder and neck as well! (My chiropractor probably cringes when he sees women walk into his office like this)
      • How to fix this
        • 1) Avoid carrying the car seat whenever possible. If you have a stroller that it can easily clip into make sure to use it!
        • 2) When you must carry the car seat (into a restaurant, short distances) try carrying it in front of you with both arms. Be sure to stand up tall and keep your core tight! I understand this may look silly and feel slightly awkward but by centering the weight along your midline you will be able to carry the seat with your whole body and core strength  (that you have diligently been working on by doing the exercises in my previous blog here) as opposed to mainly your shoulders, arms and back muscles.

 

how not to carry a car seat
This is what we all do when carrying the car seat. Try to avoid this at all costs!

Try these tips today and let me know how it feels! In my next post I will review common mistakes when lifting or playing with baby.

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