Finally!!! Your bundle of joy has arrived!!! After a couple of days, it’s time to leave the hospital, but only after the nurse checks to see that you have a car seat to safely transport your baby. The car seat is in your vehicle, and has been checked by the fire department for proper installation. Everything is ready and waiting for baby to come home. But did anyone tell you the best way to hold and carry the car seat after you unlock it from the base?
What’s great about the infant car seat is that it snaps into the base in your car, the stroller and even some swings. You pick up the seat by the handle and put it where you want it. Simple, right? Now, let’s say you are going to run a quick errand, don’t need the stroller and decide you will carry the car seat. No problem. Unfortunately, this poses a big problem, not for the baby, but for YOUR elbow. Will you carry it with your arm straight? If so, in which direction is your palm facing? And will you bend your elbow? Or will you rest the handle on your forearm?
I have found that putting the car seat on my forearm is the most comfortable and convenient way to carry the baby, IF I don’t plan on using my stroller. The stroller allows you to move freely while still keeping the baby with you. However, it isn’t always feasible or timely to bring the stroller; sometimes, it can be more of a hassle. With the car seat resting on your upper forearm, the weight is closer to your body, with a smaller lever arm. Therefore, less strain through your arm.
If this doesn’t work for you, there is always baby-wearing, which is both comfortable for parent and baby. Once you find a carrier that works for you both, you may find this to be the easiest way to move around, and leave the car seat behind.
By Effie Koustas, MPT