Toileting: reducing back strain for parents & carers

Toileting: reducing back strain for parents & carers

There are many different tasks and activities associated with toileting which may cause back strain for parents or carers:

  • Removing and adjusting clothing

  • Changing nappies/incontinence pads

  • Transferring your child on and off of the potty / commode / toilet / toilet equipment

  • Supporting and assisting your child during bottom wiping.

The twisting and bending involved in these actions can increase the risk of back injury which should be reduced where possible:

  • By careful choice of clothing. For example, elasticated waist bands, Velcro fastenings or stretchy fabrics

  • By using a changing table set at a height suitable for the parent or carer, or by using an adjustable height table to make it possible for the child to get themselves onto the table. These can also be used for dressing after bathing.

  • By using a hoist to assist with transfers

  • By installing a toilet with integral wash and dry facilities. These provide a washing and drying facility which may assist when bottom wiping is difficult for a child or carer. It can limit the amount of times your child has to be transferred and allow increased independence

  • By using a multi-function shower & commode chair which can reduce the number of transfers that need to be made between the bed or wheelchair, toilet and shower.

To view the products mentioned in this advice, click on the links below:
Advice last checked: 30 January 2018 Next check due: 30 January 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement


  1. Disabled Living Foundation 2014  Choosing children's daily living equipment
    View reference   Last visited:  13/08/2012 Evidence type: 2