Backpacks and Back Pain in Kids

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.

Copyright (c) 2014 LifeWorks Integrative health

Elementary Home Schooling – Can This Be the Way to Go?

There’s an interesting movement taking place across America these days.  While all over the world tensions are heating up over wars and saber rattling, while the collective economies worldwide are in shambles and while most of the rest of the world, it would seem, are on their Internet blogs, a small, but growing number of parents are beginning to home school their children.

A survey released in December of 2008 done by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported that in the Spring of 2007, over 1.5 million children were being home schooled.  And that was up over 400,000 kids from just four years earlier.  And almost double the figure from 1999. What’s going on?

The top three reasons parents gave for home schooling were:

  1. They had concern about the school environment.
  2. They wanted to provide more religious or moral instruction.
  3. They had dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available.

Most of the concern in reason number one is centered around violence, the threat of violence or the way students were allowed to interact with each other while at school.  As we all remember, there were always bullies and snide little girls who both found a way to play tricks, talk badly about us or in some cases actually cause us minor harm in some way.  Some schools have gone a long way past that sort of behavior these days.  Kids have been injured or killed and not just in the mass slayings so much in the news these days.  We’re talking about daily acts of purposeful harm or threats to students by other students.  Maybe it’s the violence in the media and movies or the latest gansta hip-hop song lyrics or even fast food; no one knows for sure.  The simple fact remains that it gets harder to deal with every year.  And it’s not just the kids making this a difficult matter to deal with.  Teachers have told me it’s much worse sometimes to deal with the parents of those kids.  Some parents blame the teachers themselves for the way their kids are and the way they act.  It’s as if there’s been a paradigm shift in some people’s minds that the school system should raise the kids and teach them right from wrong and how to conduct themselves around other people.  What had normally and rightly been a duty and responsibility of parents has now somehow  been shifted toward the school systems.  And in the litigious society we live in, we all know that kind of thing would even be impossible to do even if they wanted to.  Something is indeed out of whack.  It’s actually surprising more parents aren’t home schooling.

The second reason to home school given above really needs no explanation.  Parents merely want more structure and faith to enter into their children’s education.  That’s their prerogative.

And the third reason is actually self-explanatory also.  Parents just don’t feel their school systems live up to their expectations for a quality education.  They would rather sacrifice their time and money than short their child’s education.  A noble expression of love.

Elementary home schooling, preschool homeschooling and even high school homeschooling are on the rise in America.  And for all the right reasons.