Kids are carrying far too many books in their backpacks these days, and to make matters worse, they’re wearing them improperly as well. What effect do backpacks have on kids’ health both now, and in the future? Richard Pistolese, DC of Future Perfect Inc., makes the following recommendations when choosing a backpack:
- Look for backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps. Narrow straps dig painfully into shoulders and can hinder circulation, causing numbness or tingling in the arms, which over time may cause weakness in the hands. Padded shoulder straps help absorb the load.
- Look for backpacks with “S” shaped shoulder straps, which will ergonomically contour to your child’s body.
- Consider the weight of the backpack when empty. For example, a canvas backpack will be lighter weight than leather.
- Look for backpacks with a waist or chest strap. This will help keep the load close to the body and help maintain proper balance.
- Look for backpacks with a backpack with a built in back support.
- Look for backpacks with a lumbar pillow.
- Make sure the backpack is not too heavy. Students of all ages seem to be carrying heavier loads. Even when worn properly with both straps, leaning forward to compensate for this extra weight can affect the natural curve in the lumbar, or lower back region. Extra weight may cause a rounding of the shoulders and an increased curve in the thoracic, or upper back region. As a result, the student may experience back, shoulder and neck pain. A good rule to follow is to carry no more than 10-15% of one’s body weight.
- Consider purchasing a backpack with wheels.
Informative Articles & Links
Backpack Use Directly Associated with Back Pain in Adolescents
Book Bags: What Every Parent Should Know
Chiropractor-Recommended Backpacks by Airpacks®
Endorsed by COCSA
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