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Is your baby too heavy to be carried?

Is your baby too heavy to be carried?

June 06, 2018

Let’s address the elephant in the room. How much weight an average adult can carry. And you might be surprised that it is not a percentage of weight.

Keep the weight down

We cannot stress enough the importance of having a lightweight baby carrier which is adjustable and fits your body type. But what are the physical limits of an average adult? If you research the internet, you can find anything between 10 and 20 percent of your body weight. It means that 50 kg woman would hardly be able to carry her child past the infant stage.

The rule of thumb says that you should start carrying 10% of your body weight, build up the strength and slowly introduce more load. If you begin babywearing straight from the birth, you will have enough core strength when your child becomes a toddler. But what is the maximum?

Your weight doesn't matter

You might not be surprised, that there is not a big difference between a 60 kg person and a 100 kg person. This does make sense because being taller/bigger doesn’t necessarily mean that you are stronger. Michael O’Shea, the physicist from Kansas State University, went further and created a model, which is more realistic than the percentage based maximum.

Hikers of otherwise healthy weight might not even be able to carry as much load as lighter hikers, because they also carry more of their own bodyweight. Adopting the O’Shea’s model,12 kg backpack should not be a problem for any healthy adult. People under 80kg weight have a maximum in the 20 kg territory.

How much you can carry - Michael O’Shea

If you work on your core strength and your spine is better supported with your muscles, numbers are even more promising because the graph shifts up. But at the end of the day, numbers are just theory and what really matters is how you feel. Having a bogged disc would be a painful experience. Please, listen to your body in the first place.

Resources:

  • Backpack Weight and the Scaling of the Human Frame, The Physics Teacher 52
  • Cover photo: Elijah O'Donell



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