Backpack to School

It’s that time of year.  Overloaded with an ever-increasing weight of textbooks, children suffer from back pain at a much earlier age than before.  The use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

The back pack pulls children backward.  To balance themselves, kids bend forward.  This posture can put stress on the muscles and ligaments in the neck and back, increasing the risk of injury.

Here is a safety checklist to keep in mind for your little Einstein:

  • Purchase a backpack with wide-padded shoulder straps.
  • The total weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15% of the child’s weight.  
  • Use both shoulder straps at all times. Hauling a heavy backpack over one shoulder can shift the weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain and walking improperly.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • Pack heavier items closet to the back and other items distributed evenly throughout.
  • Use all of the compartments. Backpacks with multiple compartments help keep the load stable and keeps it from shifting.
  • Choose a backpack that has a padded back.
  • Bend your knees when picking up a heavy backpack.
  • For heavier loads, use a stabilizing waist or chest strap even though it might not be “cool”.

Back packs are still convenient items, being able to carry many objects in the safe and efficient ways with less injuries if used properly.

Children who are aware of these issues and taught the proper ways to use backpack can develop a good habit which can avoid future back and neck issues that can become a chronic problem as they get older.