With school in full swing, it’s important to make sure your child is as healthy as can be. Do you know if your kid’s backpack is too heavy? Backpacks are a convenient way to carry books and supplies, but an overloaded or improperly worn pack can lead to a spinal injury. A child who is appearing to change their posture, complaining of headaches, shoulder, or neck pain is at high risk for injury. A few adjustments in the way the backpack is worn, as well as lightening up the load, can go a long way towards keeping your children injury free.
Choosing the right backpack
- Look for padding on the shoulders and back to reduce pressure on the spine, shoulders, and underarm areas.
- A waist or hip belt will help to evenly distribute weight on the body.
- A bag with multiple compartments allows for easy access and allows you to distribute weight within the bag.
- Don’t buy a bag that gives them room to grow. If it’s too big, it will be easy to overfill.
Wearing the backpack correctly
- When lifting a backpack, bend at the knees and hold it with both hands to avoid strain on the back.
- Wear the pack on both shoulders and make sure the shoulder straps are adjusted to fit snugly. At the same, be sure the straps aren’t too tight which can cause tingling in the arms and discomfort.
- Fasten the waist belt to help with proper positioning.
- The bottom of the backpack should rest in the curve of the lower back and drop no more than four inches below the waist.
- Place the backpack on a chair or desk at home so your child won’t have to lift it all the way from the floor in the morning.
- The backpack should weigh no more than 10 – 15% of your child’s body weight.
- Heavier items should go in the back of the bag, closer to the spine.
Lighten the load
- Eliminate some of the extraneous items your child wants to bring to school, such as toys, tablets, and makeup to help shed some weight.
- Check to see if some books can be left at home or school on certain days. If possible, buy a used copy of a particularly heavy textbook and keep it at home so your child doesn’t have to carry the book back and forth.
- If your child doesn’t have every class, every day, consider using single notebooks instead of one large one. This allows them to take what they need for the day.
- Use technology, if only your son only needs to read few pages in a chapter use a smartphone to take pictures of the text rather than carry the entire book to and from school.
What to watch out for
- A change in posture, including slouching, bending forward, or leaning to one side.
- Bruising and excessive red marks on their skin. The bag is too heavy if there are significant marks on the skin.
A properly sized and loaded backpack is a good way for your child to carry her books to school. If you do notice posture changes or your child is complaining of frequent back pain or headaches, please give us a call at 848-928-2426.