Why is lifting children any different from lifting adults?

Why is lifting children any different from lifting adults?

Posted on Feb 03, 2017

Why is lifting children any different from lifting adults?



Many of us, in all sorts of different workplaces and environments, have to do a certain amount of lifting, carrying, pushing, and moving.



But there are some job roles that require lifting and moving people – for example, healthcare workers such as nurses, hospital porters, paramedics, and carers, as well as nursery and crèche workers, nannies and childminders.

For most people who work with young children, lifting them and carrying them is a regular part of the job. Just like any other manual handling activity, you need to be careful and lift properly. The basic principles of manual handling good practice still apply, but there are some extra things to keep in mind…


Firstly, communication is very important

When you are lifting other people, communication is fundamental. When you are lifting children, there may be an added barrier to understanding.


But communication is important because you need to understand what they are capable of

The more the child can do themselves, the less you have to do. But you should avoid making assumptions about their capabilities. Children change as they grow, but not all children develop at the same rate.



Communication is important because you need to understand what they feel comfortable with

If the child is not comfortable during the move, they’ll be likely to wriggle and fidget, making life more difficult for you.


Communication is important because you need to let them know what you plan to do

Picking up a child without warning is risky. It can lead them to being scared and becoming startled. So take a moment to tell the child what you’re going to do and making sure they understand. 


Secondly, if they start fidgeting, stop the move

If the child starts wriggling or trying to move away, stop the move when safe to do so, and place them back down. Try to put them at ease by talking them through what we have discussed here, and then re-attempt the manoeuvre when the child has calmed down.


Thirdly, hold the child close to your body

You often see people holding children with the weight held predominantly on one hip.

Whilst you should be holding them as close to your body as possible it is not a good idea to hold the child on your hip. Instead, keep them centred on your body. This ensures the weight is balanced equally.



And of course, keep the environment clear 

Anywhere there’s a child, there’s mess. But it’s really important that spaces are kept clear. Try making tidying part of the children’s schedule, and encourage them to do as much of it as possible. 


Get trained

If lifting and moving children is part of your work, then it’s important that you are properly trained.

When you subscribe with flick you get access to all flick courses as well as Safe Lifting: Manual Handling of Children. 


Ready to get going with your manual handling training? Then why not start today with flick. Get up to 50% off when you buy an annual subscription.


manual handling - safe lifting of children


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