Back to school: Is your backpack fitting properly?
Backpacks can be used to carry the necessities of the school day as well as being part of your child’s style statement. When used properly, the weight can be evenly distributed using the body’s super strong back and abdominal muscles. But if not worn in the correct manner, they can strain muscles in your child’s neck, back and shoulders. That can result to injury of the joints and muscles long term causing postural changes.
1. They should only be carrying between 10(elementary student)to 15(high school student) per cent of their body weight.
2. Pack it right! Heavier items should be placed low and in the back end of the backpack so that the heavier weight will be distributed properly.
3. The size of backpack should be proportionate to the student’s body size as it should never be wider /horizontally larger than your child’s torso and the bottom hanging more than 4 inches below your child’s waist.
4. Shoulder and back straps should be padded and adjustable. They should not be too tight around the underarm or shoulder area. You should be able to fit your hand between the child’s back and the backpack. A strap around the hip/waist area is also a good thing to look for as it helps even out the strain on the spine by placing more weight around the pelvis area.
Carrying the backpack using the two straps will also lessen the pressure and likelihood of injury. Encourage that your child carry it this way as opposed to just wearing one strap and slinging it on to the shoulder as this puts more stress into the shoulder area, mid and lower parts of the spine.
5. Lightweight material such as vinyl, canvas or nylon can also help decrease the weight of the backpack.
6. The more compartments to keep contents organized and from shifting, the better. This also helps in the redistribution of weight.
7. Children should try their best to bend their knees and pick up their backpack as opposed to twisting the backpack and slinging it on their back.
Chiropractors provide diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders related to the spine, nervous system and joints. For more information on how to pack, lift, carry, and choose a backpack, visit the OCA Website at www.chiropractic.on.ca- Pack it Light and Wear it Right!
By: Dr. Teesha Geevarghese (B.Sc., D.C.) Chiropractor
Still not sure if your child’s backpack is fitting properly? Bring them by the clinic on Tuesday August 29, 2017 or Friday Sept 1, 2017 from 1pm-4pm to get their backpack checked by Dr. Teesha G!
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