8 Tips to Help Your Child Avoid Backpack Strain
By: Dr. Tara Hosie
With back-to- school right around the corner, selecting an appropriate backpack and ensuring it is worn properly should be high on the list of priorities. Carrying a load improperly can lead to poor posture, which can ultimately lead to muscle strain,
spinal pain, nerve irritation and headaches. Children are highly susceptible to these problems because their skeletons are still developing. Nipping these postural issues in the bud can help to ensure that your child’s spine and nervous system develops properly preventing future health issues.
Here are 8 easy to implement backpack tips:
1. Choose a lightweight backpack– Avoid leather and other heavier material
2. Choose a bag with TWO wide and padded shoulder straps that are adjustable– Even and comfortable distribution of weight can prevent postural imbalances
3. Choose a backpack with multiple compartments– This can help to evenly distribute the contents within the bag
4. A full backpack shouldn’t be more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight– Any more can lead to muscle strain and excessive spinal compression
5. Place heaviest objects closest to the body– This prevents the child from having to lean too far forward to balance the weight
6. Make sure both straps are worn at all times– Carrying the bag over one shoulder can cause the child to lean more to one side which can lead to spinal curvature over time
7. Adjust the straps so that the backpack sits comfortably against the upper back– If the straps are too loose and the bag hangs too low the child is forced to lean forward to balance the weight
8. Always lift the bag off the ground by bending at the knees and holding the bag close to the body– Picking up a load off the ground with improper posture can cause lower back strain
If your child complains of back or neck pain, get them checked by a chiropractor. Fixing a problem when it starts is better than dealing with a more chronic problem down the road.