Posture in childcare
Working with children is a great job, but it can cause back, neck and knee pain!
This is a summary of the course we run for childcare professionals (nursery, school and after-school). As an adult, you learn how to protect your health, but also how to set a good example for children.
At the bottom of this page you will find our recommendations for nursery furniture!
What are the ergonomic hazards in daycare?
On this page, we will discuss two major risks related to posture and ergonomics:
- sitting too low (on the floor, but also on children’s furniture);
- lifting and carrying children.
How to sit correctly
Remember that any chair with a seat lower than the bend in your knee is too low for you. And the closer your buttocks are to the ground, the greater the risk to your hips and back.
- do everything that does not involve direct interaction with children (administration, etc.) on adult furniture;
- the lower you sit, the more frequently you should get up: sitting on a step, a firm cushion or other small seat allows you to hold on longer than on the ground;
- always support the pelvis, whether against the wall with a cushion, on a small chair with a backrest, or in a semi-recumbent position with cushions under the entire back and neck.
- when gathering with children, avoid sitting on the floor for more than 10-12 minutes: sing a song standing up, etc.
How to better lift and carry
To carry better, you must first carry less (less weight, less time, less distance). The golden rule of manual handling is: the less I carry, the better I feel.
So think in steps: first reduce the load, then distribute it as evenly as possible over your body:
- can I avoid carrying (i.e. involving the child)?
- can I carry less weight (rolling, sliding, etc.)?
- can I carry less high, less low, less long (sit the child on the changing table before bedtime, stand the child up in bed instead of lying down, etc.)?
- if I really have to carry, what is the best technique?
- if I have to change grip, where and how do I pause?
The right posture to carry
To carry with a flat back (i.e. not slouched, hollow or twisted), we have developed the three techniques illustrated below:
- “lift one foot” for light weights on a non-slip floor (e.g. setting the table, closing the sleeping bag in bed, reaching an object far ahead);
- “step back one foot” for middle weights, above mid-shin. This technique starts with a bending of the chest. Your front knee can be used to sit the child up before lifting;
- “bend the knees, but not more than 90°” for the heaviest weights. However, you cannot lift a load placed below knee level, otherwise your back will round!
Our Why parents have back pain playlist shows many practical applications for carrying children. Here are 3 videos that explain how to take a baby to or from bed depending on his age.
How to bottle-feed a baby
When giving a bottle to an infant:
- your pelvis should be supported, as well as his (use firm cushions, even a lumbar cushion for you;
- the spine should be oriented so that the neck is not stretched (i.e. the bottle should be perpendicular to the back). You can use the armrest of the sofa to orientate his back;
- his or her head should be supported (if necessary by your arm);
- even to maintain eye contact, be careful not to lower your head too much (the neck should not bend more than 20°).
How to relax your body
It is crucial to frequently relax your muscles (back, neck, shoulders in particular), including in the presence of children who will love doing this now famous exercise invented by Olivier Girard. Be careful to stay within your comfort zone, however small it may be!
How about helping us?
Today, we are concerned about children: the habits they develop are the beginnings of their future pain. We are therefore looking for schools, parents’ associations, teachers’ and headmasters’ unions that are interested in setting up prevention programs in schools. To help us, you can distribute Olivier Girard’s TEDx conference or contact us to set up a partnership.
Posture in childcare
Working with children is a great job, but it can cause back, neck and knee pain! This is a summary of the course we run for childcare professionals (nursery, school and after-school). As an adult, you learn how to protect your health, but also how to set a good example for children. At the bottom…