How many times have you, a parent of a toddler, been in a hurry? If it’s not to make the Yoga for mommy (daddy) and me class, it might be to drop the little one off at day care so that you can enjoy your hard earned hour or two of free time. Your little one, who for some odd reason does not seem to be as invested in moving at an accelerated rate, saunters, as he checks out the fascinating nearby objects. You grab his arm in order to speed things up a bit. He winces or perhaps even cries, but thinking nothing of it, you continue on your daily routine until some time later you realize that OMG, he is not moving that arm. Panicked, you imagine that you have somehow managed to permanently lame your offspring. The doctor examines your boy and with one simple maneuver corrects the problem and off you go.

What happened? You grabbed your child by the hand, which pulled his elbow slightly out of joint, which in medicalese is referred to as subluxation or nursemaids elbow. The ligaments around a child’s elbow are not as developed and more lax than their adult counterparts. If you pull hard enough (surprisingly not that hard) this might happen again and again, especially in young children with lax joints.  Affected children will often bend the elbow with the hand facing down and resist all movement.

In order to reduce the elbow, your doctor will simply extend the elbow as she rotates the forearm so that the hand is facing toward the ceiling. This easily performed maneuver is minimally painful and thus requires no pain medications-perhaps only a relaxed child. At times it can take up to one hour before your child will move the arm again.

To prevent these injuries, never grab a toddler by the hand and then pull him along. Rather, as you pull him forward grab the elbow instead. Better yet, forgo the mommy and me yoga class and instead just check out those incredibly interesting water puddles.