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Back to School, Backpack Safety Tips from a Chiropractor
As your children start back up in school, it’s important to ensure their backpacks are worn correctly and safely. Backpack wearing can significantly increase your child's potential for injury.
Injuries caused by inappropriate backpack-wearing:
Bad posture will develop if the child is arched over to offset the weight of the backpack. If the child is leaning forward to compensate for extra weight this can cause rounding of the shoulders and a curve in the upper back. If the straps aren’t evenly distributed, the child may also have one shoulder higher than the other, causing an uneven posture as they walk around throughout the day.
When a backpack is not properly packed and worn, children may experience neck pain, back pain, and headaches caused by spinal misalignment. Your child’s spine can become stressed with axial compression.
Neck, Back, and Shoulder Pain:
Excessive muscle stress in the neck, upper back, and shoulders will cause lower and upper back pain and strain the shoulders and neck. Low back pain can be caused by excessive arching from wearing a low backpack. Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by rounding forward to carry heavy weight.
Tips for correctly packing and wearing a backpack:
Less weight is always better. The backpack should never be more than 10% to 15% of your child's body weight. For example, a child who weighs 70 pounds shouldn't carry a backpack that weighs more than 7 to 10.5 pounds. Your child should only carry what is necessary. Have a strong organizational system at home for keeping papers and folders that they don’t need every day.
When packing the backpack, put the heaviest items closest to the body. Be sure that the straps are even to properly distribute the weight.
Both shoulder straps should be worn, and the backpack should be snug against your child's back. Your child shouldn’t wear the backpack on just one shoulder. The backpack shouldn't go much lower than your child's backside, and should not reach their legs. High and tight is the best positioning for the backpack.
The Do’s and Don’ts for Backpack Wearing:
- Wrong - Strap only on one shoulder
- Correct - Wide, padded straps on both shoulders
- Wrong - Load too heavy
- Correct - Loan no heavier than 10-15% of body weight
If your child is experiencing back pain, book your appointment with the talented chiropractors at Team Elite Chiropractic today.