It seems more and more kids carry backpacks that are almost bigger than they are! We frequently see kids who try to counter balance the weight of their back pack. They bend forward at the waist, round their shoulders forward or tilt their chins upward. Kids are experiencing back pain at a much earlier age than in the past according to the American Chiropractic Association. Heavy backpacks may be a contributing factor.
Many adults and parents experience daily back pain, neck pain and headaches. Making sure your kids use a proper backpack is one way to protect them from these debilitating problems later in life. Overweight backpacks may cause damage to kids’ developing spines. This damage can turn into a permanent problem later in life if it is not properly addressed.
Sleigh Family Chiropractic’s Top Tips for Backpack Safety
- Make sure that your child’s backpack weighs no more than 10-15% of his/her body weight.
- Empty your child’s backpack weekly. Make sure they are not carrying unnecessary items that increase weight. Encourage your child to carry only the books they need that day.
- Make sure the backpack straps are adjusted properly. The bottom of the backpack should be two inches above the waist.
- Remind your child to wear both straps at all times. In addition, using the waist strap decreases strain on the back.
- Weigh your child’s backpack once per week to be sure it is not getting too heavy.
- Make sure that your child lifts their backpack properly when putting it on. They should lift with both hands, bend with their knees and put it on their back in a controlled manner, one strap at a time.
- Purchase a backpack made out of lightweight materials.
- Check shoulder height and head tilt regularly if your child is not already under chiropractic care. Look for signs of stress imbalance injury to their developing spine. This may be If one shoulder is higher than the other or if their head tilts toward one side.
Drs. Quintin & Katie are experts at detecting signs of early spinal damage. If you have any concerns or just want to get your kids checked to make sure their spines are developing properly, be sure to make an appointment with Dr. Quintin or Dr. Katie or a chiropractor in your area.