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Moving and handling in your home

  • Moving and being active
  • Staying safe and accident prevention
Adult Moving Disabled Child In Sling

Your child may need help to move. This can be moving from a wheelchair or buggy to a chair, helping your child to get up from the floor or onto the toilet. This often called ‘moving and handling'.

Using the right approach

It is important that anyone helping a child or young person to move also looks after themselves. If a child requires assistance to move at home, the occupational therapist can provide guidance to ensure all carers can safely and comfortably look after their child.

This video has been provide by the children's physiotherapy team.

As a parent of a child with additional needs, who needs help with moving, you are at greater risk to injure yourself.

Even if you feel you can still easily lift your child, the high repetition and sometimes lifting in and out of small spaces could lead to injury.

My base of support is where my body is supported. If i am sitting on a chair, the support is from my contact with the seat as well as my feet placed on the ground. When sitting think about a rectangle that can drawn around my feet.

In standing, your base of support is smaller and unsteady. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and with your knees slightly flexed is more stable.

When moving or supporting your child your centre of gravity changes if your a woman or slightly higher for a man. Using a disc on a string round my neck to represent my centre of gravity. 

If i lean forward, it will move away from my body. If I move in another direction the disc will move, this can make you unsteady. Try to keep your centre of gravity above your feet.

To demonstrate this try to stand from a chair normally and observe what the disc does. You automatically lean forwards to place your centre of gravity over your feet. 

When lifting your child, keep your arms short and bring your elbows close your body.

Children who require full assistance. Approach from behind. Stay close, place your hands on your child's hips. Slide your child on to your thighs, lift one leg through with your child sitting on your thigh and then stand up.

Notice how my centre of gravity is within my base of support.

Hold your child in close, using your palm of your hand. This is a comfortable grip.

Remember that protecting your back is not only important for you, but is also allowing you to look after your child.

Imagine the situation where you would have a back injury and unable to care for your child.

To recap, remember the three key principles.

One, have a stable base of support.

Two, keep your centre of gravity within your base of support.

Three, keep your child in close.

If you are currently lifting your child and are finding thins difficult, contact your community occupational therapist. They will be able to offer advice, or provide equipment to assist. 

Getting help

Support from the occupational therapy team will explore each of the different moves the child makes throughout the day, to get from one place to another or from their bed to their seat.

Sometimes equipment such as hoist will be needed. We may need to look at the space within your home to check this is working for you and your child.

Last reviewed: 19 January, 2024


Who can help

If you have difficulties moving your child and need more help, please call us on 0300 029 50 50.

Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (excluding bank holidays).

If you live in Peterborough, visit Peterborough Children's Occupational Therapy.

Have your say

Please tell us about your recent experience with any of our services by answering a few simple questions. We want to hear about what you felt went well and what you think we could do differently. 

Your voice makes a difference and helps us improve our services for you and other families.

Two young primary school girls laughing together in the playground.

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