Protect Children’s Elbows with some simple tips. Kids love to swing. When a child is holding hands between two adults, it is very tempting to grab the child’s hand or wrist and give them a swing. Although this can be fun, it can also be dangerous, leading to dislocation of the elbow or shoulder. The radius, ulna, and humerus bone form the elbow joint. The ulna and humerus have a lot of ligamentous stability. The radius, however, does not have strong ligaments to prevent a pull to the wrist or hand. This can lead to a common dislocation of the radius called “nurse maid’s elbow”. “Nurse Maid’s Elbow” acquired its name from kids having this dislocation after getting their arm pulled. Maybe it is common sense to not give a yank to a child’s arm, but swinging can be dangerous as well. Be cautious with grips similar to this picture.
If you have been swinging your kids for a long time and cannot resist, having the child grip the adult’s hand is a safer method. The muscles that control grip cross the elbow and can provide added stability to the elbow. I will not promote swinging children by their arms, but if you love swinging your children, I want you to know the safer method. With this safer method, there is a greater chance of the child letting go and falling. So please take this into consideration.
Protect Children’s Elbows With These 4 Tips:
1. Never pull a child by their arm (unless saving them from entering a busy highway, etc.)
2. Resist the urge to swing children by their arms. The swing set in the backyard or park will do just fine.
3. Picking children up by the torso is much safer than pulling them up by their arms. Do not be lazy. Give the extra effort to squat down to pick them up safely.
4. Be a child advocate. If you see anyone pulling a child’s arm, kindly speak up and help them understand the dangers of pulling a child’s arm.
If a child does sustain an elbow injury from getting their elbow pulled, it is important to get it examined and treated by a doctor. If the elbow is dislocated, it will have to be reduced by a medical professional who has been specially trained. The good news is that children can often return to normal function after proper treatment. The bad news is that children who have a dislocation are more likely to have a dislocation in the future(1). Prevention is always the best the best medicine.
Protect Children’s Elbows With These 4 Tips
1. Vitello S, Dvorkin R, Sattler S, et al. Epidemiology of Nursemaid’s Elbow. West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(4):554–557.