Kids can be a real pain in the neck (and back, knees and shoulders)

While starting a family is a time of joy and happiness it's not without its pitfalls for parents.

International reseach from Bupa shows up to 40 per cent of parents have injured themselves lifting, carrying or playing with their children

The top 10 causes of acute parenting injuries were related to everyday parenting activities such as picking children up from the floor, lifting them out of their cots, balancing them on the hip and hunching over when breastfeeding, which can all place severe strain on parents’ back muscles.

Dr Tim Ross, Bupa GP, said that new parents are at potential risk even if they’re fit and healthy as so many are sleep deprived in the early years of parenthood. Nearly half of those injured (44%) said a lack of sleep was a major factor contributing to their injury as they were too tired to notice that they were not bending correctly.

“It’s not surprising that over half (59%) of parents say that looking after children is more physically demanding than work,” Dr Ross said.

“All the bending, lifting and twisting to get children in and out of prams, cots and car seats takes a physical toll, often in the form of bad backs, creaky knees and more serious injuries such as herniated (so-called 'slipped') discs. These can be painful, take a long time to recover from, and can potentially have long term health impacts.”

Having a good posture and learning how to lift and carry a child properly reduces the risk of injury. Bupa has created a guide to help remind parents of the safest way to lift children.