Did you know that backpacks are the leading cause of shoulder and back pain in children?
The American Chiropractic Association created a checklist below:
- Is the backpack the correct size for your child? The backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso, and the pack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
- Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps? Non-padded straps are not only uncomfortable, but also they can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles.
- Does your child use both straps? Lugging a heavy backpack by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain, and poor posture.
- Are the shoulder straps adjustable? The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. The backpack should be evenly centered in the middle of your child’s back.
- Does the backpack have a padded back? A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges on school supplies (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
- Does the pack have several compartments? A backpack with individualized compartments helps position the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back, and try to place the heaviest items closet to the body.
The rule of thumb that the ACA recommends is that children never carry more than 10% of their body weight. So if a child weighs 100 pounds, they shouldn’t carry a backpack weighing more than 10 pounds.
Please be sure to have this conversation with your child and have them notify you if they feel any pain. Any pain or change in their posture, please give us a call or notify us at your next adjustment. We hope you and your families have a great 2014-2015 school year!