Doctors warn parents not to swing their kids by their arms


When I was a kid there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to fly. I would constantly bug my dad to grab me by the hands and swing me around just so I could feel weightless. But now, some experts are suggesting that swinging kids around like this at a young age can actually lead to painful injuries.

“[Parents should] be aware that all their joints are still forming so anything that puts extra pressure on them can have a detrimental effect,” Adam Pandit, Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon at Spire Thames Valley in Slough tells the Independent.

The condition is called “nursemaid’s” or “pulled” elbow and is most common with pre-school aged children between one and four. Joints and ligaments in the arms are still being developed at this age, making them vulnerable to pulling or jerking motions that can occur when they’re playing with a parent or guardian.

While the condition isn’t permanent, it can be quite painful, which has prompted experts to issue a warning to parents.

“In my experience I have seen very little incidences of direct injury to the shoulder and elbow joint as a result of children swinging by their hands holding onto adults. However it is obvious that parents or guardians need to exercise common sense and care when playing with children,” said orthopedic surgeon Amer Khan of Doctify.


Earlier this year, Jenny Halteman shared an incident with with Babble that landed her daughter in the emergency room, screaming that she couldn’t move her arm.

“Her floppy arm dangled at her side,” she says. “[The doctor explained] to us that she had something known as ‘nursemaid’s elbow,’ technically known as a radial head subluxation. Basically, when she was lifted up by the arm, it slightly dislocated at the elbow. It happens more easily in young children because their bones are still forming and their ligaments are loose.”

While the doctor was able to quickly relieve the pain in Halteman’s daughter’s arm, the incident was enough to scare Haltman from swinging her daughter around again.

“No way, kiddo.”