With the school year starting, parents have a long list of school supplies that their kids need. One of the most important, perhaps, is the backpack. A staple for every school-age child, it can unfortunately also cause some back and shoulder problems when used or worn incorrectly. To ensure you and your kids are ready for a safe new school year, we have some back-safe tips to share:
Watch out for the Weight: It’s not uncommon for backpacks to be far too weighed down with books and accessories, causing strain to children’s shoulders. Backpacks should not be more than 15% of a child’s bodyweight. If their books are weighing them down, have them carry a few to lighten the load.
Use Both Straps: You’ll often see kids carrying their backpack by one strap, only using one shoulder. This causes strain and misalignment as only one side of the body is taking the brunt of the pack’s weight. Be sure that your child is using both straps, one on each shoulder, to distribute the weight evenly throughout the body and therefore causing less strain to one side.
Make Adjustments: If anything on the backpack is adjustable, make sure to adjust it to your child’s body. This should be shoulder straps, belt straps, etc. The better the fit, the better the posture.
Choose the Right Size: Not all backpacks are created equal, and it’s important to find the right size. Though they can hold more, bigger is not always better, as it can overwhelm you child’s small frame.
Choose a Backpack with a Belt: If you can, try to find a backpack with an adjustable belt at the waist. This will help to distribute the weight of the backpack, and make it easier to carry each day.
Watch for Signs: if you notice any signs of soreness or pain, change packs immediately. If the trouble persists, massage or spinal adjustments may be beneficial for back health. Contact Bodylab if you have any questions – or, make an appointment online.