We've Got Your Kid's Back(pack)
Whether your child is entering kindergarten or college bound, back-to-school means back to carrying backpacks. Heavy loads can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain and postural imbalances in people of all ages. The risk of injury increases when backpacks are worn improperly.
By choosing the right backpack and wearing it properly, you can prevent injury and increase comfort for your child.
Choose the Right Backpack:
- Length. Should be the length of the torso, ending two inches below the waist. A backpack that hangs too low increases the load on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward.
- Shoulder straps. Should be wide and padded. Narrow straps can dig into shoulders, causing pain and restricting circulation.
- Padded back. Increases comfort and protects against sharp edges on objects inside.
Multiple compartments. Allows for distribution of the contents’ weight.
- Waist strap. Preferably thick, the waist strap helps distribute the weight onto the hip bones, rather than the shoulders.
- Weight. The backpack itself should be lightweight, adding minimal weight to the load.
How kids can wear backpacks safely:
- Always use both shoulder straps! Carrying the backpack with one strap disproportionately shifts the weight to one side, which can lead to neck and muscle spasms and low-back pain.
- Keep it close. Should be worn close to the body with minimal space between the body and the pack itself.
- Pack light. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the weight should not be more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s total body weight.
- Distribute items. Pack heavier things low and towards the back, closer to the body.
- Bend using both knees. When wearing or lifting a loaded backpack, kids should not bend over at the waist. Show your kids how to lift from their legs!
Backpacks offer a practical way for kids to carry all the necessities they need for the school day at any age. When using the right backpack correctly, kids can distribute the weight of the load among some of their body’s strongest muscles to carry safely and comfortably. By teaching these safety tips you are not only helping your child avoid pain and associated injury, you are also helping to minimize stress to your child’s nervous system. At Pathways Chiropractic, we teach people everyday how stress to the nervous system can adversely affect numerous functions in the body leading to a wide array of health conditions.