The countdown is on and for many children school will be starting in a few weeks! Hard to believe. Some summers seem to pass by more quickly, or perhaps as my children get older (and I do too!) time just seems to move at a faster pace. Parents have already started asking me about how to choose a proper backpack for their children, here are my top tips!
Every September I have a ton of fun with the kids in my practice taking a look at their backpacks and chatting with them about how to adjust them and wear them properly – we make it fun and engage them in the process of understanding why it’s important to take care of their body.
Choose a pack that is proportional to your child. Avoid the temptation to pick pack with the latest cartoon character, super hero, or princess your child adores and be sure to find one that fits. The bottom of the pack should sit no lower than the point where the low back meets the hips, and the top should comfortably rest on their shoulders. Look for padded, adjustable straps can be easily adjusted to fit their frame.
Pack it Right! Fill the pack so that it weighs no more than 10% of the child’s body weight(grades K-8), or 15% of the teens body weight (grades 9-12) Pack the heaviest items closest to the body, make use of pockets/compartments to distribute the weight, and pack any odd shaped or sharp items on the outside so they don’t dig into the back.
Wear It Well Encourage your child to use both shoulder straps & tighten them so that they fit snugly enough so the pack sits on the shoulders. Remind them to avoid slinging the pack over one shoulder only, this causes the spine to lean and puts stress on the joints and muscles in the mid and lower back. If there is a waist strap on the pack, use it! It helps reduce the strain on the back by transferring some of the load to the hips. If the pack is exceptionally heavy, place it on a table or chair and lift it onto the body one strap at a time to avoid straining or twisting to pick it up.
A child’s backpack is a convenient, necessary item to transport their belongings to school everyday, but it’s also a common source of strain on young spines! Take a few minutes with your child and consider making a few changes to ensure it’s not doing any harm. If you still have questions be sure to get in touch and book your complimentary back pack check up.
Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for backpack related injury.