Prevent aggravating your child's injury by teaching her how to walk on crutches.

How to Help Kids Walk on Crutches

by Jaimie Zinski

Accidents happen, and, unfortunately, this can result in a leg injury serious enough to require a cast or brace and a pair of crutches. Maneuvering on crutches is a difficult skill to master, and your child requires assistance learning how to properly stand, walk, sit, and ascend or descend stairs without causing further injury. Stay with your child until he's mastered these skills to ensure the broken or injured leg heals correctly and your child doesn't suffer a nasty fall.

1 Speak to your child's physician to have him fitted for a pair of crutches. The crutches should allow your child to keep his stronger foot comfortably on the floor. You should be able to fit two or three fingers comfortably between your child's armpit and the crutch while he's supporting his weight.

2 Instruct your child to stand up straight, grasp the hand grips and slightly bend his elbows. Remind your child to keep his weight off his armpits and instead keep it on his hands. This might be difficult for your child to understand, so ask him if his armpits hurt. If so, show him to instead to hold himself up on the crutches by his hands, not his armpits.

3 Tell your child to hold his weight on his good foot and lift his bad foot off the ground. If the doctor permits, let your child know it's acceptable to keep his toes on the ground, but don't let him put any weight or place the foot of his injured leg fully on the ground.

4 Tell your child to move both crutches slightly in front of his good foot, suggests Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Remind your child to keep his back straight and his stomach in while he takes a step with his good leg. Don't leave your child during this time to ensure he's steady on his feet. If he becomes tired or frustrated, help him sit down and take a break.

5 Help your child ascend the stairs with his crutches once he's able to walk around easily. Tell your child to place his good foot on the first stair. While putting his weight on his good foot, tell him to lift the crutches and his bad leg. Stand with your child and help him along until he masters this skill.

6 Show your child how to go down the stairs on his crutches. Instruct the child to lower his bad leg and the crutches onto the first step. Tell him to then hop down while supporting his weight on the crutches. Stick by your child until he's able to get down the stairs on his own.

Tips

  • Eliminate any scatter rugs from your home, and stay by your child if he's unsteady and you're walking outdoors on uneven surfaces, suggests Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Both of these are potential tripping hazards that could exacerbate your child's injury.
  • Examine the crutches weekly to ensure the tips aren't wearing out and that all screws and bolts are secure. If the tips become worn through, replace them. Replacement parts are available at medical supply stores or pharmacies.

Photo Credits

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