Many kiwi kids walk to and from, and around school carrying backpacks filled with books, stationery, lunch, sports gear and even these days items such as laptops! Carrying such heavy loads for a long distance or time isn’t good for anyone, least of all children as their bones are ‘soft’ and still developing. Parents should be aware that overly stressing the back with a heavy school bag could cause spinal imbalances in their child which can later cause them irreversible back problems as an adult.
Wear both Straps
Encourage your kids to wear both shoulder straps when carrying their backpacks. Carrying the backpack around by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, increasing the risk of injury.
Not too low
Many kids also tend to wear their backpacks “low”, resting against the lower lumbar region of the back or buttocks area. As a rule of thumb, the backpack should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. A school bag that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
Situate the backpack in the middle or upper back
Ideally, the backpack should be in the middle or upper back (just below the shoulders), and letting the bottom rest on the hips/pelvis is ideal. Try to avoid over packing. Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10% of his or her body weight. Remember to pack the heaviest, flattest items in the area that touches your child’s back.
As children grow older they have slightly sturdier bodies and can manage the weight better by the time they reach senior school. However, it is still important to buy the best backpacks for school use because during the teen years your child’s body grows rapidly and sometimes asymmetrically. Buying the wrong backpack even at this stage can lead to pain in the back called backpack syndrome. If your child is experiencing any pain or discomfort resulting from back pack use, consider feel free to contact your chiropractor.