young boy walking on road

Backpack safety: How to pack for a happy back!

We’ve all seen it before: the little kid coming home from school with a heavy schoolbag forcing them to hunch over, bulky items stretching pockets to the limit, and straps set so long that the backpack bounces with every step.

Besides being just uncomfortable, improperly fitted and packed bags can lead to neck or back pain, headaches, and poor posture. Worse still, sometimes the backpack can affect the spine or cause numbness or tingling in the hands and arms. When the backpack is too heavy, it puts the child at risk of losing balance, falling down, or hurting somebody else while taking the bag on or off.

Take a few minutes now to assess the state of your child’s backpack and avoid problems down the road!

Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

The backpack should be no more than 15% of your child’s weight. For example, if your son or daughter is 80 pounds, the backpack should be less than 12 pounds when it’s packed with schoolbooks, pencil case, lunch, and anything else he or she needs to bring.

Choose a lightweight backpack with waist straps. This lightens the load on the shoulders and distributes the weight more evenly. Make sure your child uses the waist straps!

Find a good fit. Ask him or her to use both straps, instead of slinging the backpack over one shoulder. You should also adjust the straps so that the bag fits snugly to the body. If the straps are too long, the child needs to slouch over to find balance with the shifted weight.

Distribute weight wisely. Use the different compartments in the bag to spread the weight out. Put heavy items closer to the body and try keeping lightweight items at the top. If using external pockets, balance them by putting something on either side (for example, one running shoe on each side).

We’re working on an upcoming seminar with more information on backpack safety, electronic use, and other back-to-school issues. Stay tuned for more details!

We’re concerned about your child’s posture, wellness, and optimal health. Please feel free to speak with us directly about your concerns for your child. There’s nothing like a personal consultation when it comes to yours or your child’s health!


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