Back to School: Backpacks 101

Written by: Dr Sarah Weber

The first day of school for your little one has arrived, seems like only yesterday your child was uttering his or her first words and taking his or her first steps. You've done all you can to protect and prepare your child (and yourself) for this big day. Have you however, considered the importance of your child's first backpack? Misuse of backpacks by either over packing or wearing them incorrectly could do damage to your child's spine and lead to chronic back, neck and/or shoulder pain.

While back pain is commonly present in adults, there is also a rise in back pain among children. The number one cause is, as you may have guessed, overweight backpacks. Sending your child off to school is a big first step, you want everything to go smoothly, and you want him or her feeling their best. Here are five tips for selecting a proper fitting backpack, avoiding misuse and keeping your child's spine safe:

  • It can be hard to find the appropriate size backpack for a preschooler, most are big and bulky. Choose one that is made of light weight cotton and has one zippered pocket.  
  • Keep in mind a child's backpack should weigh no more than five to ten percent of his or her body weight. Any heavier and you may notice your child's posture becoming hunched over in an attempt to carry the heavier weight.
  • Choose a backpack with wide, adjustable, padded straps and padded back panels. Additionally, some backpacks come with larger pull tags and zippers which are easier for a preschooler to handle.
  • If the backpack comes with a waist belt, have your child wear it. It's a great way to distribute the weight load safely to their shoulders, hips and torso.
  • Some backpacks come with a reflect strip which is an added safety feature to have.

If you or your child experience any pain or discomfort as a result of a heavy backpack, bag, or purse, contact the experts at Total Balance Chiropractic. They are trained to treat back pain across a wide range of ages and offer gentle techniques proven to be safe and effective for children. In addition to chiropractic care, they can instruct you on how to maintain your child's posture, nutrition and sleeping habits.

Check out their Kids Backpack 101 event on Sat. Aug. 4th at their office! Check our discussion board for more tips and advice on heading back to school safely.

Posted on July 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM