One of the fundamental pieces of any back to school ensemble is, of course, the backpack. Although they are practical, backpacks are a leading cause of back and shoulder pain for millions of children and adolescents. As students head back to school, here is some advice parents can use on preventing unnecessary backpack pain and injuries.
Here is what you should be looking for to help select the best possible backpack for your child:
· Is the backpack the correct size for your child?
o Should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso
o Should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline
§ Can increase the weight on the shoulders
§ Can cause your child to lean forward when walking
· Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps?
o Non-padded straps are uncomfortable
o Non-padded straps can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulders
· Does your child use both straps?
o Using one strap can cause disproportionate shift of weight to one side
o Using one strap leads to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain, and poor posture
· Are the shoulder straps adjustable?
o Straps should be adjusted to fit your child’s body
o The backpack should be evenly centered in the middle of your child’s back
· Does the backpack have a padded back?
o Provide increased comfort
o Protects your child from being poke of contents inside
· Does the backpack have several compartments?
o Helps position the contents effectively
o Pack pointy or bulky objects away from the area that will rest on your child’s back
o Try to place the heaviest items closest to the body
Parents or guardians should help children pack their backpacks properly, and they should make sure children never carry more than 10 percent of their body weight. For example, a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds, and a 50-pound child shouldn’t carry more than 5 pounds.
In addition, parents should ask their children to report any pain or other problems resulting from carrying a backpack. If the pain is severe or persistent, seek care from a doctor of chiropractic or other health care professional. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s health and backpack safety, please feel free to call our office at 605-332-9235!
Live Well South Dakota. South Dakota Chiropractors Association. Back Pack Safety.Livewellsouthdakota.com. South Dakota Chiropractors Association, 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Aug. 2013.