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Preventing Little Elbow Injuries

If you ever lift your child by one arm over a curb or onto a step, or swing him around in play, think twice: You could dislocate one of his elbow bones -- an injury known as nursemaid's elbow that's common in toddlers and preschoolers. It's usually painless, but that means it can be hard to tell if your child is hurt. Kids may not cry, and the littlest ones won't be able to tell you something's out of whack.

A sure sign something's wrong: Your child stops using his arm or refuses to bend his elbow, says Alvin Crawford, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. If that happens, call your doctor or take your child to the ER so the elbow can be popped back into place. The fix is only slightly painful, and he'll feel better right away. The best way to keep little joints where they belong: Lift your child from his armpits or torso instead of his arms.