By: Active Sports Therapy
As we get our kids ready to go back to school, buying a new backpack seems to be a late August tradition. Although kids will often choose their pack based on colour and design, there are few tips that you should watch for when narrowing down their choices.
Backpack features that reduce the incidence of back pain can be:
- Shoulder straps that are not only padded, but adjustable. They should also ideally be a width of about two inches or more.
- Padded along the piece that will sit against the child’s back.
- Look for a material that is lightweight such as canvas.
- Chest straps and waist belts can be helpful to distribute the weight, especially if your child has to walk more than a few blocks.
- In some cases, when textbooks and other heavy items are involved, a pack with wheels might be something to consider.
In terms of wearing the backpack, please remember the following:
- Wear two straps up at all times. Sometimes it feels more convenient to use just one strap but over time it can certainly cause imbalance and one-sided injuries.
- Stand upright. If you notice your child has to lean forward while walking to support the load, then there is too much weight in the bag for their body size.
- Heavy items should go in first and be located in the main compartment to keep the weight close to the body. Smaller items such as pencils, rulers and calculators can go in the smaller, outside compartments.
- If you notice the pack flip flopping from side to side as they walk, the culprit is usually loose straps, so tightening them should stop this problem.
- If your child is complaining that their back, neck, or shoulders are sore, you should take steps to immediately reduce the weight.
- Help your kids develop their organizational skills with regular clean outs of unneeded items as well as knowing what they will and won’t need that day at school. This will allow them not to tote unnecessary items to and from school each day.
If your child is complaining of pain however, it’s important to listen to them as it could be a symptom of a larger problem or an issue that is at the point of needing to be looked at by a professional. At Active Sports Therapy we have both sport and family chiropractors equipped to assess and treat your little one if needed.
*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.