The school year is now upon us and kids are ready to head back to class again! This also means loading up on school supplies and carrying heavy backpacks full of books which can result in spinal injuries such as: neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, tingling and numbness in hands and muscle spasms. However, if you follow these precautionary steps, you can prevent your child from suffering these symptoms and ensure that they have a fun and pain-free school year!
How much is too much to carry in a backpack? The answer to this is simple. The weight of the backpack should not exceed 15% of your child’s weight. For example if your child weighs 100 lbs, his/her backpack should be no heavier than 15 lbs. There are also ways to limit the amount of books that your child carries to class by only packing the essential books and materials for each class and making use of a locker or storage bin in between classes. Also, consider getting your child a backpack on wheels. These are lightweight easy to maneuver and can reduce the risk of spinal injury all together.
Now that you have them fully packed and ready to go, the trick is learning how they should carry the backpack. If it has two straps, make sure to use them both. If one side is uneven, it can cause spinal misalignment and lead to more serious complications down the road. Adjust the backpack straps to fit the child snugly but not too tight causing them to hunch over. Watch out for loose or hanging backpacks because they can drag and weigh the child down throughout the day causing them to lean backwards. It is also very important that the child practices proper posture throughout the day (between carrying their backpack) while sitting at his/her desk.
By following these simple guidelines, you can prevent your child from suffering neck or back pain and rest assured that they will be prepared to take on the school year!