The first day of school is just around the corner! Right about now, most of you are gathering up school supplies, and buying new backpacks for your kids. Did you know that an improper fitting backpack can cause back pain in young and healthy kids? Here are a few tips from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) to keep in mind when purchasing a new book bag for your kids this school year.
- Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
- The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. -A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
- A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back.
- Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
- Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
- Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child's shoulders.
- The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child's body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
- If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
If the new backpack you purchased doesn’t fit these guidelines, there’s still a few weeks left to exchange it for one that does.
For the full article on backpack safety from the ACA visit: http://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Backpack-Safety
As always, if you have any further questions about backpack safety or chiropractic care for you or your kids, please contact Dr. Ashley at the office by phone or email.
Hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of summer!