Baby Joggers
Healthy Living
Patient Information from the American Chiropractic Association
Tips for Outdoor Activities with Baby
From biking and hiking to walking and jogging, today’s
parents are keeping fit and bonding with their babies in
the process. With an array of products unheard of a
generation ago—like baby carriers, joggers and trailers—even the tiniest among us are enjoying 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.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) urges
you to exercise caution and good judgment while exercising with your baby.
Biking
When biking with a child on board, use a trailer, a
rolling ride-along that hitches to the back end of a
bike. This is a safer option than a carrier, a “passenger” seat that sits directly on the bike, according to Dr.
Scott Bautch of ACA’s Council on Occupational
Health. Dr. Bautch cautions that carriers can decrease
a bike’s stability, possibly causing it to topple.
To further ensure the child’s safety while biking, keep
the following tips in mind:
• Equip the trailor with a harness that can be
placed over the child’s body. The harness
should be complicated enough that the child
cannot unhook it or wiggle out of it.
• A screen that covers the front of the trailer will
add an extra line of protection against stray
pebbles and other flying objects.
• Be sure to select a trailer that has large, bicycle-style tires, which will add stability and ease
to your ride.
• Protect your child’s head with a sturdy,
adjustable helmet that can be sized to fit properly. If the helmet rests too high, it will expose
part of the child’s head, leaving it susceptible
to injury.
• Bike only on smooth surfaces. Only an experienced rider should attempt to bike with a child
on board at all. And even then, the rider should
practice with a ride-along trailer for two weeks
before riding with a real child.
Jogging
If you wish to go for a jog and bring your child along
for the ride, the baby jogger is your best option. A
baby jogger is a rolling pushcart that a parent can jog
behind, using handlebars to maneuver. Here are some
rules of thumb to consider:
• Make sure the handlebars of the jogger are
large and adjustable, to fit comfortably into
your hands for complete control.
Healthy Living
Tips for Outdoor Activities with Baby
• Handbrakes and a locking mechanism are a
necessity.
• Look for a jogger with a good shoulder harness
to keep the child secure.
• Large, bicycle-style tires offer more control and
stability.
• A screen over the front of the jogger adds to its
safety by deflecting stray flying objects.
• Jog only on smooth surfaces.
Walking or Hiking
For parents who prefer walking or hiking with their little
ones, a backpack-style or front-side baby carrier could
be for you. Dr. Bautch cautions, however, that there are
risks involved. “The cervical spine of a child less than
one year old is not fully developed. It is 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. A
front-side carrier is better for a very young child,”
explains Dr. Bautch.
Dr. Bautch urges you to think about the following:
• A backpack-style or front-side carrier decreases a parent’s stability when walking or hiking.
Get into shape before attempting to use one of
these products.
• Since these carriers will change the feel of
walking or hiking quite a bit, they should not be
used by beginner walkers or hikers.
• If using a backpack-style or front-side baby
carrier, make sure to select one with wide
straps. This will help distribute the carrier’s
weight evenly. The shoulder straps should fit
comfortably over the center of your collarbone.
• The carrier should include a harness to keep
the child stable.
• 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.
Baby Slings
The “baby sling” is becoming more popular for 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.
Follow these tips when using a baby sling:
• 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.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, don’t forget about your own health and comfort. When lifting a child to place him or her into a trailer or jogger, exercise caution. Don’t bend from the
waist, but begin in a 3-point squat and implement a
two-stage lift that consists of 1) pulling the child up to
your chest and then 2) lifting straight up with your leg
muscles. Stay as close to the car seat or trailer as possible and place the child into it without reaching,
stretching or twisting. The further the child is from your
body, the more strain you will place on your spine and
musculoskeletal system.
For more information on prevention
and wellness, or to find a doctor of
chiropractic near you, visit ACA’s website at www.acatoday.org/patients.
This patient information page is a public service of the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association. The
information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a
substitute for a diagnosis by a specialist. For specific information concerning your health condition, consult your
doctor of chiropractic. This page may be reproduced noncommercially by doctors of chiropractic and other
healthcare professionals to educate patients. Any other reproduction is subject to ACA approval.
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