Now that school is back in session, it’s important that kids start the new school year with the right habits. A common problem amongst students is the improper use and packing of their backpacks. Especially at a growing and developing age, it’s important that kids handle their backpacks properly to avoid unnecessary change and stress on their spines. Here are a few tips in making sure your children are using their backpacks properly:
SELECT THE RIGHT BACKPACK
Remember going to school and wanting to show off your new backpack? Some of them with cool colours or images of your favourite cartoon characters. As much as we can get caught up in aesthetics, it’s much more important to take SUPPORT into consideration when choosing a backpack for your child. They’ll be wearing them on their backs everyday until summer, so it’s important to find one of good quality and support so it won’t induce stress on any part of their body. These backpacks should be made of more lightweight materials, so it won’t add to the weight they’re carrying. It should also be proportionate to the size of your child’s body. Avoid larger backpacks with the intention of filling it with too much for your child to carry. A backpack with several pockets can help to distribute weight evenly throughout the backpack. Make sure there is padded support in the right areas such as the back and straps of the backpack. Avoid buying bags that only have one strap in order to distribute weight evenly across the body. A backpack with two straps (at about 2 inches wide) is ideal and more supportive backpacks have straps that go across the body or waist to help hold the backpack properly on their back.
PACKING A BACKPACK
Using a backpack that has many compartments, you would want to put things inside to evenly distribute the weight throughout the bag. Avoid too much in one pocket or more to one side. Any heavier items should be in the pocket closest to their back. The overall weight of the backpack should be around 10-15% of your child’s bodyweight and no more than that. You will start to notice in the child’s posture that their backpack is too heavy or unevenly distributed as they will try to pull their head and body forward to counter the weight on their back. Plan what you’re going to put into the backpack and anything that isn’t necessary for the day should be left at home.
WEARING A BACKPACK
Tighten the straps so that the backpack sits tight against the body, with the proper use of straps (make sure they use both straps at all times). Having the backpack close to the body will make sure there is not too much backwards weight pulling against their back and posture, which will ensure that there is no overcompensation and change in their spine and posture. Backpacks should be packed on a higher surface at the height of your child’s torso so they don’t have to bend down or twisting/throwing to put it on. The backpack should never sit lower than 4 inches below their waistline.
It’s important that kids put this into good practice at an early age, in order to prevent further stress on their spine and alignment. You’ll start to notice changes in your children’s posture as a result of improper use of their backpack. This is something that they depend on everyday, and can be a big determinant of poor spinal health. We’ve had children come into our clinic dealing with symptoms such as back and shoulder pain, headaches and neck pain, numbness and tingling into arms, poor overall posture, reduced blood flow and distorted spinal curvatures. It’s important to get them checked by your Mississauga Chiropractor to make sure there isn’t any undue stress on their spine during the school year and to tackle their health problems at an early age. If you’d like to contact us at the clinic with any questions or concerns, you can reach us at (905)821-4951.