Would you agree that back-to-school time is almost always hectic? Go to any superstore a few days before school resumes and you’ll find moms and dads with shopping carts filled to the brim with school supplies, lunch ingredients, clothes, and, last but not least, backpacks.
Unfortunately, because there is so much to buy in preparation for the coming school year, parents often purchase the cheapest backpacks they can find. This is a big mistake.
Some Backpacks Cause Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain
Did you know that certain backpacks cause bodily pain by putting too much strain on a child’s spine? The average backpack simply isn’t designed to cart a large load of supplies AND keep your child’s back, neck and shoulders stable. However, some book bags are designed with health in mind.
Jason Bellefleur of Bellefleur Physiotherapy tells parents, “A good bag could make the difference between a happy and healthy child, and one living with discomfort. Backpacks shouldn’t mean back pain, therefore choosing an ergonomic backpack should be a priority.”
Tips for Backpack Safety
Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing a backpack and teaching your child how to wear it:
- Pick a Backpack with Sternum and Waist Straps – You may think it would be more comfortable for a backpack to fit loosely, but that’s not the case. It’s actually far better for a book bag to fit snugly. Straps ensure a tight fit, so be sure to purchase a bag with sternum and waist straps.
- Ensure a Backpack Never Becomes Too Heavy – Most people don’t pay attention to the weight of supplies a child carries in a book bag, but they should. Jason Bellefleur says, “The American Pediatric Association recommends that a child doesn’t carry more than 10 to 20 percent of their entire body weight. It pushes the head forward and increases the compression of spinal discs. This could cause neck, shoulder and back pain, and can become chronic, especially in older teenagers.” Keep this in mind as you monitor the weight your child carries on his or her back.
- Avoid Messenger/One-shoulder Bags – Book bags with just one strap (messenger bags) may be stylish, but they put way too much weight on just one shoulder. This often results in back pain. Avoid these types of bags and opt for a backpack that has straps for both shoulders.
What type of backpack is your child carrying to school this year? Regardless of price or brand, unless it is ergonomically designed, it may cause back pain. Invest in your child’s well being by carefully choosing a backpack that promotes healthy posture.