Image and appearance are very important for children. They want to express themselves and to be liked by their peers. As their backpack will be one of the things that they will have on their person at all times and every day while at school, the right backpack is very important. Choosing the right backpack should be an issue that is important to parents as well. A child’s backpack can be very influential when it comes to your child’s physical health. That’s right, the wrong backpack can cause your child to have back, neck and shoulder pain because a poorly designed or improperly worn backpack does not provide your child with the proper weight distribution that is needed for comfort!
Backpacks come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. While shoulder bags, messenger bags, briefcases and purses are very popular and stylish, they do not do as well as backpacks at supporting the weight of the bag and distributing it evenly across the muscles in the body. Yet even a backpack can create strain on the body when not worn properly. Below are a few tips that you would do well to remember when choosing a proper backpack for your child.
Encourage your child not to carry books that they do not need to have on their person at all times. A locker is a great tool that should be used to store books in when they will not be needed immediately.
Most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.
Look at your child’s posture while they are wearing their backpack. When a heavy backpack is improperly placed on your child’s shoulders, the force pulls your child back. In order to compensate for the change in the child’s center of gravity, they must lean forward or arch their back. This hunching causes the spine to compress in an unnatural way that results in back, shoulder and neck pain.
Large and bulky bags are not only awkward to carry and typically heavier than other types of backpacks, but they can cause a tripping hazard when left in the aisle of a school bus or protruding from under a school desk.
Kids will often wear their backpacks on just one shoulder because it may be easier or more aesthetically appealing for them to do so. In reality using only one strap over the shoulder causes the child to have to lean to one side or another in order to off-set the weight. This can easily lead to poor posture and the same types of pains that are common with other backpack related mistakes.
Backpacks should have straps that are wide and padded. Backpacks with tight, narrow straps that dig into the shoulders can interfere with a child’s circulation and nerves. These tight and narrow straps may even cause feelings of tingling, numbness, and weakness in the child’s arms and hands. Obviously, such side effects are best to be avoided.
Remember that as the parent you have the responsibility not only of making sure that your child has a safe backpack to begin with, but also that your children know how important it is to wear the backpack the way that it was designed to be worn. Doing so will drastically reduce the chances of discomfort, injury and even long term muscle damage. Parents ought to be aware of their children’s backpack weight and provide reminders to their children to clean out their backpacks regularly and to let the parents know if a new backpack is needed.