Millions of children wear backpacks incorrectly on a daily basis in the US, these safety tips will help your child wear their backpack properly and prevent injures.
School is right around the corner and there are many kids that have already started school or are preparing for that first bell to ring. Every child has a list of supplies that they are gathering for their return to school, and at the top of that list is a backpack. There are about 79 million students in the United States who carry backpacks on a daily basis. Recent studies have shown that 55% of children carry backpacks that are more than their body weight (your child should never carry more than 15-20% of their body weight in their backpacks).
Children in elementary school and middle school are still growing and it is a risky time in development of their musculoskeletal system and injuries during these years can have life long effects. Backpacks are designed to distribute weight over the bodies stronger muscles, but if they are worn incorrectly, injuries such as strains, sprains and posture problems can occur.
A study published by the University of California Riverside focused on over 3000 middle school patients. They focused on the correlation of the weight of their backpacks vs the weight of the student. The results of the study showed that as percent of the weight of the backpack to the students body weight increased the occurrence of back pain increased as well.
There are very simple backpack safety tips that parents can focus and educate their children on to help prevent backpacks being risk factor or cause of injuries for their child.
Backpack Safety Tips For Your Child
To prevent backpack pain in your child, the AAOS and Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA) suggest that parents follow these back-to-school backpack safety tips:
Parents should buy a backpack that’s an appropriate size for the child. They should encourage their child to alert them about numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, which may indicate that a backpack fits poorly or that a child is carrying too much weight.
Watch your child put on or take off a backpack to see if he has difficulty. If a backpack appears too heavy, have the child remove some of the books and carry them in his arms to ease the load on his back.
Children should carry no more than 15 to 20 percent of their body weight. They should use both shoulder straps on backpacks and adjust the straps to keep the load close to the back.
When lifting backpacks, bend at the knees. It should look like they are doing a squat when your child needs to get down to the floor to pick up their backpack.
Remove or reorganize items if a backpack is too heavy. This can also be helped by planning ahead or packing the backpack the night before, that way there is not a rush in the morning.
When packing, place heavier items low and toward the center. Carry only items that are required for the school day or for homework.
Children should be encouraged to stop at their locker (if applicable) throughout the day to drop off heavier books.
Stayed tuned for more tips and information about chronic pain, sports medicine, and other musculoskelatal conditions. My goal as your Bend Chiropractor is to educate the community on how through some simple lifestyle changes you can find pain relief and improve your quality of life for good.
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