Backpack Safety to Avoid Back & Neck Pain

It’s that time of year again, back to school shopping season. While you’re busy buying all the supplies your kid needs for the new school year and taking advantage or tax free weekend, don’t forget backpack safety.

That’s right, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 6,500 emergency room visits each year by children ages 5-18 which stem from injuries related to heavy or ill fitting backpacks.

Here are 7 tips from the American Chiropractic Association to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.

  •  BackpacksMake sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

Abiding by these guidelines should significantly decrease the likelihood of back problems for a backpack carrying student. Of course, the most important one is keeping the total weight of the pack at less than 10% of the wearer’s body weight.

However, we all know that sometimes kids just don’t want to listen to their parents. So if your child winds up experiencing any discomfort or back pain throughout the school year, contact the Chiropractic care specialists at Berman to schedule an appointment. We’ll straighten your kid out for you.