An overloaded or improperly fit backpack can cause back problems for growing children. A study led by Shelley Goodgold, PT found that 55% of children surveyed carried backpack loads heavier than the recommended 15% of their body weight. Also, 1/3 of the children reported back pain that led them to seek medical attention, miss school or abstain from physical activities. As you prepare for the new school year, put these tips to practice before you send your kiddos off to ace their new year.

What To Look For When Shopping For a Backpack

  • Two, wide-padded straps to balance and distribute the load across the shoulders.
  • Hip belts transfer some of the weight from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso, as well as help prevent side-to-side swaying of the pack.
  • A padded back with lumbar support that promotes a good and healthy posture.
  • The proper size pack: it should be no larger than the child’s back.
  • A lightweight pack: the pack itself should not add much extra weight to the load being carried.

While Carrying the Backpack

  • Make sure your child wears both straps. It might be easier or “cool” to just throw one strap on, but this puts more weight on one side versus the other and is a no-no when it comes to backpack safety and preventing injury.
  • Adjust the straps properly. Wear pack over the strongest mid-back muscles, not hanging low around the waist.
  • Keep the load light and close to your body. Offer guidance to your child on prioritizing which books to bring home each night in order to minimize unnecessary carrying of heavy books and therefore lightening the load.
  • Limit backpack to weight no more than 15% of the child’s body weight

Warning Signs That The Backpack is Too Heavy

  • Change in posture when wearing the backpack
  • Struggling when putting on or taking off the pack
  • Pain when wearing the pack
  • Tingling, numbness, or red marks on the shoulders

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By |2022-08-18T22:13:38+00:00August 14th, 2022|Helpful Tips, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Is Your Child’s Backpack Making The Grade? 3 Ways To Ensure It is

About the Author:

Colleen Schutt has held various positions at Onondaga PT over the years and you may have seen her in any of our 5 locations. Colleen is currently our Director of Marketing. She is passionate about spreading the word to the community that Onondaga Physical Therapy is the best choice when you need to return to living, working and playing even better when an injury has set you back.
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