Backpack misuse on the body can cause pain and health issues for students. In fact, the epidemic has caused the California State Assembly to pass legislation that will make sure school districts develop ways to reduce backpack weight. The American Chiropractic Association also believes that limiting the backpack’s weight to no more than 10% of the child’s body weight will help this epidemic. Here are some tips for better backpack posture and choosing the right backpack:
- The backpack should not succeed 5-10 % of the child’s body weight. Having a backpack heavier than this can cause your child to arch or slouch to attempt to support the weight. The problem is that the shoulders are supposed to support the weight with help from the straps, not the back. This can cause a lot of back pain.
- Your child’s backpack should not hang any lower than four inches below their waistline. Having the backpack sit lower only increases weight on the shoulders, causing them to lean forward while walking.
- Choose a backpack with different compartments that make it easier to organize. This way, bulky items can be placed somewhere that doesn’t constantly rub and irritate your child’s back.
- Bigger isn’t always better- the more room, the more clutter, and the more weight gets put into it.
- Strongly suggest your child wears both backpack straps. Wearing a backpack on just one strap bears all weight to one side of the body and can cause many health issues. It can lead to neck spasms, muscle spasms, and even low-back pain.
- Make sure your backpack has wide, padded, and adjustable straps. Non-padded straps can dig into your child’s shoulders and cause much discomfort, and adjustable straps allow the backpack to fit your child’s body more accurately and help reduce spinal misalignment.
- If you notice your child’s backpack is still too heavy for them to handle, talk to their teacher. Your children may not realize that some of the heavier books can be left at school.