Adults know that carrying a huge load on their backs may do harm over time. But children continue to walk around with monstrous backpacks on during the school year. In a study conducted by Spine Magazine, 80 percent of surveyed children said that their backpacks were heavy. Worse, 65 percent of them felt their backpacks caused them fatigue and 46 percent said they had back pain due to the heavy load. What can you do?
Select a More Appropriate Backpack
- Choose a pack that is appropriate to the child’s size and age.
- Select a backpack with well-padded shoulder straps. Our neck and shoulders are rich in blood vessels and nerves. When constricted, these nerves can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands.
- Choose a pack with a waist belt that can be fastened for extra support and can also help transfer weight from the shoulders to the body’s trunk and hips.
- Many manufacturers make rolling back packs that offer similar functionality as standard back packs, but without placing stress on your child’s neck and back. Make sure the extended handle is long enough to avoid having to bend to one side while pulling.
Teach Your Child How to Wear a Backpack
- Remind your child to always wear both shoulder straps to distribute weight more evenly. Wearing a pack over one shoulder can cause too much leaning to one side, and threaten to curve your child’s spine.
- Adjust your child’s shoulder straps so the pack fits snugly against his or her back. Your child’s backpack should never rest more than four inches below his or her waistline.
Teach Your Child How to Properly Load a Backpack
- Never allow a child to carry more than 15 percent of his/her body weight. For example, if a child weighs 100 pounds the backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds.
- Always load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back.
This “Shore Ortho Healthy Tip” Provided by:
Shore Orthopaedic Physical and Hand Therapy and NovaCare Rehabilitation
For more information, please contact one of our three convenient locations:
Somers Point (609) 927-5463, Galloway (609) 404-4804, Cape May Court House (609) 463-6883
Managed by: NovaCare Rehabilitation