Backpack safety is an important aspect of our children’s school-age years, but most often it is overlooked. Not only can it cause significant pain but also lasting damage. In this blog, you will read about some key factors of backpack safety and how you can help your child to properly use their backpack.
A backpack should only weigh 10-15% of a child’s weight. This means a 100lb child’s bag should weigh no more than 15lbs. If you have a 150 lb. child in school carrying around 1/3 of their weight, it could be causing severe damage to their musculoskeletal system. A backpack that is too heavy for your child’s frame, can cause a significant amount of strain to their neck, lower back, hips, knees, and shoulders. When a bag is too heavy, it will often cause the individual to walk in a more forward bend stance that causes improper posture that is unnatural. This can lead to physical pain and damage to the body both in the present tense and future.
A properly fitted backpack should be the entire length of the torso and extend two inches past the waist but no more than four. It should also not be wider than your child’s torso. There should not be a significant gap between the child’s back and the bag. You should choose a bag made of lighter material than those intended for adults. It is recommended that your child’s bag also has padded straps and a padded back. Wearing the belly strap will also help relieve that pressure. This will protect them from the contents and will help with the pressure on their shoulders. It is important to remind your child to wear both shoulder straps as this will help to properly distribute the weight of the backpack.
Remember to use all the pockets on a backpack, not just the biggest one. There are often multiple pockets for smaller lighter items. It is best to place heavier items in the bottom and back of the bag.
We often forget that what we do in our younger years can have a huge impact on us later in life. It is important to remember that our kids need chiropractic care too. Especially if they are playing sports, carrying a backpack daily, roughhousing, or just being kids. Anything from a simple fall to sitting in one place for an extended period can cause misalignments. Help your kids with teaching them how to properly use their backpacks, but also pay attention and get them early chiropractic treatment if you notice symptomatic issues arise, poor posture, complaints of pain, if they experience a fall, or anything in between.