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How to Safely Move Your Child

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Manual handling refers to any activity, which involves support, lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving an object or person. Moving and handling your child can include many scenarios such as transferring them from their wheelchair to the toilet, repositioning them in bed, lowering them from a chair to the floor or lifting them on to a changing plinth.  Some children may require physical assistance to move or transfer and this can vary from being very minimal support to full dependency.  It is therefore very important that a manual handling assessment is completed to determine the safest way to move or transfer your child whilst looking after your own health.

A risk assessment will look at the steps needed to complete the transfer and put in place measures that will help to reduce the probability of an accident occurring.  When completing a risk assessment there are four factors to assess, they are often referred to as TILE:

  • The nature of the TASK
  • The INDIVIDUAL capability
  • The LOAD
  • The working ENVIRONMENT

Manual Handling Children

Key things to remember when moving any object or person:


These should be positioned slightly wider apart than your shoulders to form a stable base.


You should bend your knees as this allows you to use your powerful leg and buttock muscles reducing the strain on your back. However, don’t bend your knee past 90 degrees as this places stress on the joint.


Always maintain the backs natural ‘S’ shaped curvature throughout all handling activities.  Maintain a comfortable, upright position and avoid twisting on bending.


Holding the load closer to your body, the safer the technique becomes.


Ensure you have a secure grip of the load by grasping it firmly and test the weight prior to moving the object. This will help to assess whether it is within your personal capacity.

There are many pieces of manual handling equipment out there that can be used to help reduce stress on your body, and ensure the safety of your child. Our physiotherapists are qualified to carry out a manual handling risk assessment and provide advice on how best to achieve a transfer.  To book an assessment, contact us today on on 0207 884 0374 or email

Post by Victoria Healey, Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy at Physiocomestoyou.

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