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This is the best way to carry a car seat — without hurting your back

One sign we've been doing it wrong: our aching muscles.
/ Source: TODAY

Every parent knows the pain of lugging around a heavy car seat. Now one mom is sharing a better way to lift and carry.

When Emily Puente saw another mom pick up a baby carrier by lifting with her knees and supporting the bottom of it with her hand, she thought it looked like a great way to lug a heavy carrier. She asked the woman to teach her how to do it and Puente, a chiropractor, created a short video for her patients to use. Since posting it two months ago, the video has been viewed more than four million times and more than 10,000 people reacted to it on Bridge Family Chiropractic’s Facebook page.

“I made this video on a whim between patients! It was something I saw from another mom and thought it seemed genius so I had to share,” the Mansfield, Texas chiropractor told TODAY via email.

In the video, Puente explains how her technique helps parents take a load off.

“This is a way that you can carry so it is not going to hurt your shoulder, it is not going to hurt your hip, you’re also not going to have to use your knee to swing,” she said. “Someone taught me this before and it has been the greatest thing I’ve been shown.”

Dr. David Geier, a sports medicine expert, agreed that this technique might help people protect their muscles because it encourages people to hold the carrier close to the body with support under it. Carrying a baby carrier more like a bag, just hanging down, stresses the muscles.

"Holding the carrier away from the body is going to tilt your shoulders and tilt your hips and put strain on shoulders, hips, low back," he said.

Though, he thinks that how she lifted it — by squatting down and lifting with her legs — might be more important in preventing strain.

"What she showed was that she picked it up, not by bending over at the waist and putting all that stress on the back, but she squatted down and used her quads and hamstrings, which is safer for the lower back," said Geier, an orthopedic surgeon from Charleston, South Carolina.

Puente — a mom of two who is six-and-a-half months pregnant with her third child — knows the struggle of trying to haul a baby carrier all too well. She’s tweaked her muscles many times from carrying her 3-year-old and 1-year-old. And, she treats a lot of parents with sore backs, arms, and hips.

“The most common issues I see are pain and discomfort associated with the upper and lower back,” she said. “It's extremely important that parents are aware of how they are holding baby carriers as these things can get heavy. Carrying a heavy load improperly can easily lead to injuries.”

She made the video because she thought it would be useful to her patients, and has been stunned by its popularity.

“I am blown away by the response of this video,” she said. “I was hoping it would benefit a few local moms and it's been so much more than that, which is amazing.”

After she originally posted the video some people commented that it did not help. She acknowledges that this technique might not work with every car seat or every person.

“I know it won't work for everyone but I hope it helps out some,” she said.

Geier said that he doesn't think parents would do a lot of damage by trying this method once or twice.

"I don't think it is necessarily showing anything that is harmful. Moms should try it out and see how it goes," he said.

This story was first published in June 2017.