Back to school can mean back pain for many kids as they load up their backpacks with homework and books. A heavily loaded poorly-fitted backpack can lead to a school year of chronic pain and even changes in posture. To ensure your child has a healthy back, follow these back to school backpack tips.
Buy a padded backpack
Whether your child is wearing a backpack from the bus to a classroom or trekking across town on foot, a backpack with padded straps and a padded back will make the journey more comfortable.
Teach your kids to wear a backpack properly
The cool thing to do may be to simply throw a backpack over one arm but the weight of the backpack can cause shoulder, neck, and back pain because it causes an imbalance and strains muscles. Teach your kids to wear the backpack on both shoulders and make sure the straps are comfortably snug. Also, adjust the straps so the backpack isn’t sagging low on your child’s back. It should be worn in the middle of your child’s back.
Watch the weight
Even if your child wants to take everything but the kitchen sink to school, encourage him or her to only take what they will need. A backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 20 percent of your child’s weight. Teach your child how to pack a backpack so that the heavy items are closest to his or her body. When heavy books are packed last and furthest from the body, they create a heavier weight being pulled on your child’s shoulders.
Tune in to your child’s body
If your child complains of pain or numbness in the neck, shoulders, or back, don’t dismiss it. Immediately check his or her backpack for its weight and how its being worn. Make adjustments and check back in with your child to see if it helps. If it doesn’t, consider getting a different style of backpack. In cases of chronic pain, make an appointment for your child to see the doctor.