Lunches, textbooks, workbooks, notebooks, gym clothes and more can all quickly make a seemingly harmless book bag a danger to your child’s health. Backpacks are the cause of 60 percent of back pain in children. Before you go back to school shopping this year, here are some things you need to know about backpacks.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, children between the ages of 5-18 account for 6,500 emergency room visits related to carrying a backpack that is too heavy for them. More research indicates that by the end of the school year, nearly 60 percent of all school-aged children will experience at least one episode of lower back pain. Backpacks that are too heavy are responsible for a significant amount of back pain from children ranging in age from elementary school all the way up through college. Common symptoms of poor backpack loading and carrying can include headaches, poor posture, neck pain and shoulder pain or stiffness. Let’s take a look at some tips for backpack safety for kids.
Tips for Backpack Safety for Kids:
A backpack should weigh no more than five to 10 percent of your child’s body weight. A backpack that is too heavy will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to better support the weight of his/her backpack rather than allow the shoulders and straps to support the weight. Weight is very important when it comes to backpack safety for kids.
Compartments are key. Look for a backpack with compartments to effectively pack your child’s bag. You won’t have to worry about your child’s lunch being flattened under their textbooks.
When packing a backpack, make sure your child places items that are bulky or pointy away from the back of the backpack. An uneven surface rubbing against your child’s back will be uncomfortable and can lead to painful blisters.
Encourage your child to use both shoulder straps on their backpack, not just one. A backpack that is only supported with one strap disproportionately shifts all of the weight of the bag to one side of your child. This can cause lower back pain as well as neck and muscle spasms. Using two straps in key in backpack safety for kids.
Opt for a backpack with padded shoulder straps. Padded shoulder straps are definitely more comfortable and they will not dig into your child’s shoulders.
Shoulder straps should be adjustable. This will make it easier to find a backpack that properly fits your child. Straps that are too loose can cause your child’s backpack to dangle and be uncomfortable. This can cause misalignment and pain in your child’s back.
Talk to your child’s school. If your child’s bookbag continues to be too heavy despite taking every precaution to save your child’s back, it may be possible to leave the heavy books at school and work from workbooks and handouts at home.
Talk to your kids about using their backpacks correctly. Make sure your children know how to properly wear their backpacks. Help them to understand why carrying too much stuffy or why only using one strap is bad for their backs. Children, who are educated about the importance of backpack ergonomics early on, can carry these lessons with them through high school, college and beyond.If you have questions about backpack safety for kids or your child has complained of back pain, contact a chiropractor today. Your child and family may benefit from chiropractic care.
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