Back to school means it is time to talk about backpack safety. Every year thousands of children are injured by not using backpacks properly. Improper use can create abnormal stress on the body resulting in back, neck and shoulder pain and lead to symptoms such as muscle spasms, headaches and can even set the stage for chronic conditions like arthritis.
Chiropractor, Sean Felton explains how to wear a backpack properly.
Children should never carry more than 10-15 percent of their body weight in the backpack. A heavy backpack creates stress on the spine and shoulders and creates a forward head posture.
View your child from the back and from the side with and without a backpack. When viewed from the side, your child’s ear should be centered over the shoulder and the shoulder over the hips. When viewing from the back look at their hips and shoulders and make sure they are level. Carry too much weight will force them to bend forward at the hips and to lean their head forward to counterbalance the weight. This creates abnormal stress on the spine and supporting muscles.
When carrying the backpack it is best to use both shoulder straps, keep the weight centered and close to the body with the bottom of the backpack about 2 inches below the waist.
When choosing a backpack choose one that has these features:
-2 wide, adjustable padded shoulder straps: These help distribute the weight in the backpack and keep them from digging into the shoulders. Our shoulders were not built to hang things off of so we need to watch the amount of weight in the backpack.
-Multiple compartments: this allows for even distribution of the weight.
-Good optional features = roller for the bag and a waist strap.