Monday, September 18, 2017

Do’s and Don’ts with Your Children

Over the years that I have been in practice, I’ve seen many adults and children that have injuries that trace back to things that happened in their past and that had long-term effects in the present.  Here is a list of what not to do as a parent in order to prevent the long-term consequences of these injuries, as well as what to do as alternatives.

One of the most common injuries that I see in patients - young and older - is upper extremity sprain or strain injuries from being swung by the hands by a parent or older sibling.  We call it Helicoptering. You’ve seen it plenty of times in your own life or on TV: a parent is swinging their child by the hands around in a circle and the child is laughing and loving it because it’s fun!  The problem is that children’s arm and shoulder muscles and ligaments are relatively weak compared to teens and adults, and the tissues can be injured more easily.  For instance, the elbow, once injured, can lead to chronically cold hands, sweaty palms, eczema, inability to straighten the elbow, weak grip, and arthritic joints in the wrist and hands long-term.  Shoulder injuries can lead to decreased range of motion, frozen shoulder, chronic neck and upper-back pain, arms “going to sleep,” and pitching injuries.

A very simple alternative is to reach under the shoulder of your child from behind where the arm and body meet, then swing away! It’s still a lot of fun for the child with no risk of damage to the tender shoulder, elbow, and wrist tissues.

Another problem I see with raising kids is OTS or Over Tickle Syndrome. This is quite common with some parents and older siblings tickling their kids or younger siblings too much.  I’m not against tickling completely, just not too much! Again, the common misconception is that because the child is laughing, they must be enjoying it.