A new school year is approaching, and once again, you and your child are in search of the perfect backpack. The burden of school supplies, books, bottled water, and other things they may carry in the bag can cause neck and back pain when the backpack is ill-fitting, overloaded, or of low quality. How do you make sure the backpack you buy won’t affect your child’s health and posture?
Although not all medical literature and studies agree on a common list of guidelines for backpack safety to prevent neck and back pain, you can use your common sense to reduce the chance that your child will experience pains when carrying it.
Finding the perfect fit
The backpack you purchase for your kid to carry daily should be appropriately proportioned to their body. It’s similar to buying a pair of shows; you need your child to try different bags so you can find the most appropriately sized one. When they try the backpack, put the supplies they usually carry to help them determine if they feel comfortable.
Don’t forget to adjust the shoulder straps so the top of the bag does not extend above their shoulders or the bottom below the top of the hip bone.
Backpack features that reduce the chance of your kid experiencing back pains
Here are some recommendations from medical literature to help you avoid episodes of back or neck pain in your child when they carry the backpack.
– Made from a lightweight material (stay away from leather)
– Two padded and 2-inch-wide adjustable straps to customize it according to your child’s body
– Padded back
– Multiple compartments
– Frame and waist belt to distribute the weight on the shoulders, back, and pelvis
– Nice looking. Some backpacks may meet all the above features, but if your kid doesn’t want to wear them because they don’t like how they look, you’ll only waste money on something they won’t use. A dinosaur backpack would be a fun choice for a child passionate about history and nature.
After your child picks the backpack they’d like to wear at school, encourage them to always use both straps and not sling it over one shoulder. Even if the school requires them to carry several specific supplies and books, you should ensure they don’t carry too much weight, especially when they walk on foot for more than 10 minutes. Limit the weight to 10% of their weight if they’re younger and 15% if they’re teens. Please discuss with the teachers to ensure they don’t ask them to carry heavier loads. Monitor the contents of the bag to ensure they don’t carry unnecessary items.
Teach the kid the proper technique of lifting a heavy backpack. They should bend at the knees, keep their spine straight, and lift with the legs. Your kid’s posture can also trigger neck and back pains when they don’t know how to wear the backpack or place too much strain on their back.