We’re saying goodbye to summer and hello to the new school year. It’s important that every child starts the new school year off on the right foot, and a big part of that is ensuring their health.
Growing children use their backpacks for years. Repetitive loading of heavy backpacks combined with poor posture and carrying can lead to chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain as well as permanent changes to the spine. Smart choices now are important to your child’s health long after their school days are gone.
With some schools back in session and others starting within the next few weeks, here are some backpack tips to help keep your kids healthy and happy:
1. Shopping: Choose the right backpack
a. Backpacks should not be wider or longer than the child’s torso
b. Choose a backpack with a padded back and shoulder straps
c. Shoulder straps should be wide (2 inches or more)
2. Wearing: Proper Fit
a. Use both shoulder straps, not just one
b. Wear the waist belt if there is one
c. Straps should be tightened so that the pack sits no higher than the top of their shoulders and no lower than the top of their hip bones
3. Organization: “Pack it Light, Pack it Right”
a. Backpacks should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight
b. Pack the heaviest items closest to the child’s back
c. Oddly shaped items, like pencil boxes, should go toward the front of the backpack
d. Use little compartments in the backpack for better weight distribution
e. Help your child clean out their backpack weekly to remove extra weight
A new school year is an exciting time for kids. Following these tips will help to set
your children up for success in both the classroom and with their health.