How to make sure your child’s backpack is safe for their back
It’s almost time to send your child back to school, but before you do, it’s essential to find a backpack that fits them properly. It may not seem dangerous, but having your child wear a heavy and large bag every day can cause health complications down the road such as back and shoulder pain. Over time, a poorly fitted pack may even permanently alter the body by causing it to hunch over or lean to one side. To prevent these musculoskeletal issues from happening, we’ve rounded up the best tips so you can make sure your child’s backpack is safe for their back.
1) Buy the right backpack
Back pain prevention starts with finding the right backpack. The easiest way to do this is by bringing your child shopping. Get them to try on a variety of bags in the store and see how they fit. Remember that bigger is not always better – filled packs must only weigh 10 to 15 per cent of your kid’s body weight, so make sure to get one that prevents them from carrying more than necessary. You should look for padded, adjustable straps and pockets that can store odd-shaped items too. Bags with hip and chest belts are recommended as well because they help distribute weight more evenly throughout the body. The American Chiropractic Association also says a backpack should never sit more than four inches below the waist.
2) Pack it correctly
You can prevent your child from experiencing back strain by spreading items out and distributing the weight of the bag evenly across the back. Heavier objects like textbooks should be placed closer to the body, while awkward-shaped items such as pencil pouches should be stowed away from the back in an individual compartment. It’s also important to only pack what your child needs for the day and to leave unnecessary items at home.
3) Wear it properly
Take some time to teach your child how to wear their backpack correctly and explain the benefits of doing so. Show them how to adjust the straps so they fit close to the upper back. Remind them both straps should be worn at all times to prevent bad posture. Before bringing your child to school, ask them how comfortable their bag is and look for areas of adjustment if they say something feels off. Packs should also be worn as little as possible, so tell your child to leave their bag in a cubby or locker during the day.
Come in for a FREE Discovery Visit with our chiropractor for more tips on choosing the right backpack for your child. Our chiropractor can also share back pain prevention tips and answer any questions you have about your child’s spinal health.