It’s hard to believe it’s already time to head back to school! With the new school year starting, kids and teens are beginning to pull out backpacks or purchase new ones. It’s incredibly important to make sure that your child is not only wearing their backpack properly, but also not overloading it with too many books!
Here are some tips that may help:
1. Your child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of their total body weight. When a heavy backpack is placed on the shoulders, your child might bend forward at the hips or arch their back to compensate. This can cause the spine to compress unnaturally, leading to shoulder, neck, and back pain. If your child needs to transport more weight than this, encourage them to hold some of their textbooks in the front of their body.
- Use both straps. Many times tossing a backpack over one shoulder is faster, however this puts asymmetrical pressure on the shoulder, neck and back which can lead to pain and/or headaches. This can also lead to poor posture over time.
3. If your backpack has a chest and/or waist strap, use both. The waist strap distributes some of the load to the hips, and the chest strap helps to keep the shoulder straps in place and reduces swaying of the backpack.
4. Keep the backpack up high. Wearing a backpack too low can lead to a forward lean.
5. Use a backpack that has wheels if possible. This is a good option if your child needs to transport a large amount of books or supplies every day. Remember to check ahead of time as some schools do not allow these.
If your child begins to talk about back pain or headaches, bring them in for a check-up. It is easier to treat these conditions when your child is young, rather than down the road. A chiropractor can evaluate your child and offer a safe non-invasive treatment to correct any problems. Proper posture is very important, especially in kids who are still growing. Start off the school year on the right note!