This post was updated September 2015 for the new school year.
Have you felt the weight of your kid’s backpack lately? Pretty heavy, huh? According to government statistics nearly 5,000 people visit the emergency room annually due to backpack-induced injuries. While you may not have heard of any students visiting the ER for carrying their schoolbooks, heavy school bags are causing permanent damage to kids.
Backpacks are designed to be worn across both shoulders with the weight of the sack being equally disbursed between the back and the abdominal muscles. However, it is not uncommon to see bulging backpacks that are either slung to one side of the student or are drooping down to the lower back. Both of these positions are horrible for posture and will cause pain. Carrying school bags incorrectly can even lead to greater dangers later down the road.
In the long run, overloaded bags can lead to chronic back pain and problems with your child’s posture. Since your child is still developing and growing, the added weight is not the best thing for the spine.
So what can you do about it? Here are a few tips:
1. Backpack Weight Should Be 10%-20% of Child’s Weight
Aim to keep the backpack weight 10-20% of your child’s weight. This means that if your child’s weight 80lbs, they will only be carrying 8-16lbs of school work.
2. Purchase Supportive Backpacks
Purchase supportive backpacks that allow the child to carry the weight evenly disbursed across the body. A hip strap and buckle will also help, though many children are not in favor of them.
3. Backpacks With Padded Shoulders Are Better
Bags with padded shoulder allow more give and prevent the straps from digging into your child’s shoulders.
4. Don’t Bring All Books Home
Teach your children what to take home. Usually children are given class time to complete an assignment or in other cases they do not need to bring all of their books home.
5. Talk With The Teacher
Talk with your child’s teacher(s) to come up with solutions that will decrease the load of what students must bring home. Possible solutions may be to offer textbooks in the classrooms so students can keep their copy at home or for teachers to post math problems on a website instead.
6. Have Your Child Evaluated By Your Chiropractor
Finally, it is important to have your child evaluated and realigned by a chiropractor. A chiropractor can help prevent damage, as well as help with any pain.
Like most parents, you want your children to succeed at school. However, a heavy backpack will only lead your children to physical pain and problems in the near and distant future. Talk with your doctor for solutions and advice on choosing the right.