Does your child's backpack make the grade?

Written by Orthopedic Care Team on 7/24/2014 1:00:00 PM

Back-to-school season is here! A likely item on your child's supply list is a backpack. As practical as backpacks are, they can actually strain muscles and joints, and may cause back pain if they are too heavy or worn incorrectly. So, what makes an A-plus backpack? 

Choosing the right pack is vital. Make sure your child's backpack has the following:

  • Two wide, padded shoulder straps 
  • Padded back
  • Adjustable straps on sides and at waist
  • Lightweight

Wearing the pack so it doesn't cause injury is just as important as choosing the correct backpack. 

"When kids sling their backpack over one shoulder it promotes asymmetrical and awkward postures that can result in back pain," said Gayle Simala, McKenzie Method certified physical therapist at Community Spine Center. "At the very least, it promotes poor posture which could eventually lead to back problems."

    Make sure your child wears both backpack straps at all times

  • Wear both straps at all times to keep the weight of the backpack evenly distributed. 
  • Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles. Adjust straps so that it rests evenly in the middle of the back. 
  • Lighten the load by only carrying items needed for the day. Keep the load at 10 to 15 percent or less of your child's body weight. Place the heaviest items closest to the back. 
 

    Keep backpack load to only 10 to 15 percent of child's bodyweight

When used correctly, backpacks can be a good and fashionable way to carry the necessities for a day at school. By following these tips, your child will be on their way to practicing perfect backpack safety. 

Back pain?
If you or your child is experiencing back pain, call our spine center team at 317.621.9292. 

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