By "doing the air plane", I mean holding one arm and one leg of my daughter and then let her fly by circling around. I'm wondering when I can safely start doing that without dislocating her joints.

I'm very certain it's not called "doing the air plane". So please feel free to edit this with the proper expression.

  • 3
    When I read the title, I expected this to be about the game where you lie on your back and hold the child up above you, so they can spread their arms and pretend their flying. After reading your description, I understand what you're talking about, but, like you, I have no idea what a better description of it might be.
    – user420
    Mar 10, 2014 at 12:15
  • @Beofett: me too; me neither :-) Mar 11, 2014 at 12:04
  • I've never known a name for this maneuver, I've certainly done it (and other variations and combinations of limbs) with my boys; and sort of wish I knew someone strong enough to do it to me :-D I'm almost positive my kids were at least walking before I attempted it.
    – Jax
    Mar 19, 2014 at 2:59
  • @Markus Malkusch I think perhaps you are doing a variation of the (ice dancing ) "death spin" or, if you prefer, (WWE) "giant swing." Your "move" is a perfect hybrid of these two.
    – Jax
    Mar 19, 2014 at 3:47

2 Answers 2


Whenever you hold a human being by an appendage or 2 and then whirl them around, you create substantial force on their body, proportional to the rotational velocity at which you are spinning them. While this can be done at various ages, declaring it as "safe" is a non-starter. Any number of odd events could happen causing you to lose sufficient focus on the task at hand and jeopardize her safety (I'm not saying you would willingly do that b/c if you're like me, I'd hurt myself well before allowing my daughter to be hurt!), but "accident" isn't about the planned.

Now, all that security warning ahead, I'd say you can kind-of get away with it at a year or so, but the real question is at what age you shouldn't do it (wouldn't want someone doing that to you now, right? lol!) I used to let my daughter climb up the front of me and flip over backwards (best description I can think of for it, so hope you have an idea of what I mean). That stopped when she got big enough that I wasn't 100% sure of my balance (and hence her safety).

Final comment from a hyper-cautious parent: Don't forget that angular motion moves everything in the body outward, so the brain gets pushed out against the skull (depending on the strength of rotational force), too. Just be very, very, very careful if you find you must do this.


I don't think I'd recommend doing this at all. I've seen that move go awry before and all the screaming and bruising kind of turned me off to ever trying it.

Might I recommend an alternative?

At around 1 years old you can try this and they will have just as much fun. Instead of by the arm and leg, you just grab the child underneath the armpits firmly and spin them around like you would in an office chair. This ensures a firmer grip and this also ensures that their head is closer to the center of the spin rather than further out. It should go without saying but make sure you have the room to do it. This will ensure that you don't spend 15 minutes pretending you are playing doctor and fixing their little boo-boos (for lack of a better word).

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