General Question

longtresses's avatar

Can a three-year-old carry his baby sibling?

Asked by longtresses (1332points) November 10th, 2010

I’m researching for my story, so this question is tailored to fiction..

I did my bit of google search on gross motor movement but couldn’t find the one that was relevant, e.g. three-year-olds can ride tricycle, hold crayons, carry a heavy bucket of water without spilling, etc.

I’m not familiar with children, but I’ve seen three-year-olds help carry groceries too. Would a three-year-old be able to hold a baby? If not at age three, at what age can he safely hold a baby?

Thank you so much for any help!

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19 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Holding as in sitting on the sofa and having the baby on his/her lap, yes.

Holding as in being able to handle the weight of a new born, maybe depending on the three-year-old.

Holding as in having the coordination to hold and walk around with a newborn that could be squirming around without dropping it, I wouldn’t try it if it were my child, but I suppose it could be possible depending on the 3-year-old.

Joybird's avatar

I agree with @Seaofclouds Holding a baby while seated on a sofa with you nearby…yes. Carrying around, absolutely not. A baby isn’t groceries and dropping one on it’s head or at all could result in injury…maybe severe.

longtresses's avatar

@Seaofclouds OK, how about four or five? And, as in, carrying the baby, assuming that the child has excellent motor development?

Nullo's avatar

I wouldn’t let any kid under 7 do any carrying, unless they have already demonstrated capacity.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@longtresses Honestly, I wouldn’t trust a four or five year old with it either just because of the danger of injury if the baby was dropped. Babies can squirm around quite a bit. The earliest I think I would let a child carry my newborn would maybe be around 8 or 9 and even that would be minimal.

YARNLADY's avatar

My 3½ year old grandson can reach under his 1½ year old brother’s arms and pick him up, or lift him down from the high chair, while closely supervised. The older one has been observed dragging his brother down the hallway, but not exactly carrying him.

longtresses's avatar

@YARNLADY Thank you. So it’s not too far-fetched that a young boy around age of five rescue his baby sibling.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@longtresses No that’s not far fetched. There is a difference between rescuing and just casually walking around carrying the baby. In a rescue situation, there isn’t the concern about the older sibling dropping the baby as much as a casual every day situation. Physically they could do it.

Joybird's avatar

@longtresses In a rescue situation it might be possible for a three year old to get a baby out. I would suggest a 3yro could take a baby and themselves out of a burning house or out of a crashed car for help. They might know to hide themselves and a sibling from danger as well. But I wouldn’t expect them to be able to do much more than that physically.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
perspicacious's avatar

Maybe he can, but he shouldn’t be allowed to. A three-year old should not be entrusted with transporting a baby.

meiosis's avatar

Outside of emergencies, I wouldn’t trust my five year old with carrying my 11 month old. She can hold her, and pick her up, but to carry from A to B is a much tougher proposition.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Supporting an infant’s neck is not top of mind for a 3 year old. Even though they play baby dolls, they carry the dolls as an inanimate object.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Hmmm, well I have a 4 and a half year old and I don’t think he’d be able to do that with his almost 2 year old brother but certainly with a younger baby. Thinking back to him being 3…hmmm…I don’t think that’d be such a great idea though he did hold the baby when he was three as I held him and he held the baby.

wundayatta's avatar

Rescuing the baby kind of depends on how old a baby we are talking about. If it’s an infant, maybe less than three months old, it has to have it’s neck supported. It can’t hold up it’s own head. The three year old may carry or drag the baby to safety, but the baby could get serious wounds in the process.

If the baby is more than six months old, I don’t think the head holding is so much of an issue. By nine months, some babies are crawling already, although that’s pretty early.

An older child who had held the baby before and been trained on the importance of holding the head, might think of that in an emergency situation, but if they were under age five, it is unlikely that they ever would have carried the baby before. Holding the baby while sitting on the couch is one thing. Carrying it is quite another.

CMaz's avatar

As much as you might love your child and feel their competency is above average.

If something was to go wrong. You would have no excuse but to plea stupidity, ignorance and bad parenting.

I am with @Nullo on this one.

longtresses's avatar

@ChazMaz Like I said I’m researching for my fiction.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Physically, the child is probably capable. However, I doubt it would be wise to entrust such a responsibility to that young a child unless closely supervised.

tigress3681's avatar

A three year old can probably carry a newborn but it would be very highly unrecommended.

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