Why you should never, EVER swing a child by the arms – this family learned the hard way 1 month ago

Why you should never, EVER swing a child by the arms – this family learned the hard way

Swinging your child by the arms could land you in A&E.

Kids love a bit of rough play and getting swung about, and in hopes of getting a giggle out of them, we adults are often more than happy to indulge them.

Yet swinging or pulling a child by the arm is actually dangerous in that it can cause nursemaid's elbow.

Also known as a pulled elbow or, in medical terms, radial head subluxation, this injury is common in early childhood as the ligaments in young children are much looser than they are after the age of about six. As children grow, their ligaments get tighter and stronger, so the injury is rarely seen in older kids.

But while your young child still has young (and loose) ligaments, it takes very little force to pull the joints out of place. What starts as family fun could end up in a trip to the hospital.

US-based journalist and mother-of-four Michelle Stein says she learned this the hard way when her daughter wound up with a nursemaid's elbow while at a family birthday party.


"Our then 2-old-daughter was facing my husband and holding his hands while shifting her entire body weight backward. My husband kept pulling her back up to a standing position, sometimes lifting her feet gently off the ground in the process. She thought it was great. Until it wasn't."

Michelle then says her daughter (H) randomly started crying hard. Assuming she was just tired, she nursed her to sleep, but when the girl awoke she was still upset.

On the way home, the parents noticed she wasn't using her arm properly. When they asked her to try bend it, she started crying again.

They took her to the hospital where an ER doctor confirmed a pulled elbow. "She put one hand in the crease of her elbow and then did some weird manoeuvre to pop it back into place. H immediately stopped whimpering and had full use of her arm again."

If your child ends up with a pulled elbow, be sure to bring them straight to A&E. Attempting to pop it back in place yourself can cause more damage.

So, in short: big kids can swing from monkey bars to their heart's content, but no more swinging your little ones by the arms.