Keep Your Child's Spine Health
Backpack Tips for Kids
Fenton, Linden, Holly, Grand Blanc, Swartz Creek and well all of Genesee County Michigan Schools all had one thing in common this week. They were all filled with the smiling faces of children ready to embark on a new school year. If your child is anything like mine, they went to the bus stop on Tuesday morning with a new backpack packed full of school supplies. Watch all the kids walk to the corner I noticed the full backpacks were weighing them down. We’ve all seen the children walking to the bus stop with their backpack overloaded to the point that their back is severely arched and they are leaning forward at a dangerous degree. In an effort to prevent back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain in children I wanted to post some easy tips for backpack safety.
Backpack Safety 101
Studies conducted in France show that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curve or deformity of the spine to heal. Many children carry backpacks with a disproportionate amount of weight. This can result in children experiencing back pain much earlier in life. As crazy as it may sound, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 7,000 people reported being sent to the ER in a single year’s time due to injuries related to backpacks.
The American Chiropractic Association states that the weight of a child's back packs should be limited to no more than 10% of a child’s body weight. So if your child is 100 pounds then the weight of their backpack should be no more than 10 pounds.
Some other easy tips to help your child avoid back problems:
~Backpacks shouldn't hang more than 4 inches below their waist to avoid placing weight on the shoulders, which causes children to lean forward when walking. This leads to poor posture in children.
~In order to avoid shifting weight from one side to the other children should wear both shoulder straps on their backpack to avoid lower back pain, as well as neck and muscle spasms.
~Adjust the straps to fit your child's back to avoid spinal misalignment and pain. Loose back straps can dangle and allow the backpack to shift, again causing low back pain, neck pain and muscle spasms which can result in misaligned bones, pressure on nerves and headaches.
~Buy a Backpack that is proportionate to your child's back. Big Backpacks = Big Back Pains. Oversized backpacks allow your child to carry more items than their little spines should be balancing, affecting the way your child walks, increasing the risk of falling and putting added pressure on the back, neck, and shoulders.
~Ask your child to leave the heavier books at home when not needed at school and at school when not needed at home to avoid carrying too much weight on their backs. If you feel comfortable you can even ask your child's teachers if only worksheets and lighter books can be transported back and forth in order to avoid the additional weight on student’s backs.