Your child is likely to wear a backpack at least nine months out of the year, and if that backpack is doing harm to their body, and you could do something about it, you would. The following is a look at things you can do to ensure backpack safety for your child so that they do not experience upper or lower back pain as a result of their backpack.
First, you have to buy the right backpack for your child. The first thing you want to look at when buying a backpack for your child is the size of the pack relative to the size of the child. A smaller child should wear a smaller pack, so that the weight in the pack is distributed where it should be on the child’s body.
The second thing you want to consider is the straps. The shoulder straps should be wide and padded. If they are narrow they tend to cut into the shoulders, often cutting down the circulation of blood through the neck, this can lead to light-headedness, or tingling extremities. Choose a backpack with wide, supportive straps.
In addition to wide shoulder straps it is good to get a backpack that has a strap that goes around the waist, as this helps to distribute weight evenly across the body. In addition, if you can, find one that has the chest strap as well. Again, this just helps keep the weight distributed well so that your child does not end up with poor posture, or lower or upper back pain.
The last thing you want to do when choosing a backpack is choose one that is made of a canvas material, as you want to get something that adds as little weight as possible to their load. If they have lots of books, notebooks, etc. they do not need extra weight from the pack itself. So, choose one with compartments to help distribute weight, but not too much extra stuff that is unnecessary and will add to the weight.
Once your child has the right backpack it is simply a matter of how they wear it. Your child can have the best backpack known to man and still have back problems from improper use of it. The following are some tips:
First, never allow them to put too much in it. A backpack should only hold 10-15% of your child’s body weight. If it begins to hold more than that, talk to their teachers to ensure they cut down the workload, or at least the number of books, etc., they will need to take home each night.
Second, make sure they wear their backpack on both shoulders. Many kids think it looks cooler to only wear one strap, and while this may be the case, it makes it so all of the weight is only on one side of the body. If your child has a basic backpack make sure they at least wear it on both shoulders, if they have one with waist and chest straps, have them use them!