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Posted on 08-21-2015

It is the last precious weeks of summer vacation, and parents are out making the final purchases for school supplies.  Your child's backpack requires your special attention.  Parents should limit the backpack's weight to no more than 5-10% of the child's 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 that should be supporting the weight.

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of young children who are complaining about back, neck and shoulder pain; an injury as a result of an incorrect backpack.

  1. Is the backpack the correct size for your child - each child size requires a different size backpack?
    • The backpack should never be wider or longer than your child's torso, and the backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline.  A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  2. Does the backpack have padded shoulder straps for comfort?
    • Wide, padded straps are very important.  Non-padded straps are not just uncomfortable; they can dig into your child's shoulders.
  3. Are the shoulder straps adjustable?
    • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child's body.  Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  4. Does your child use both straps at all times - not just slinging the backpack over one shoulder?
    • 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.
  5. Does the backpack have a padded back?
    • A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges with school supplies (notebooks, pencils, rulers, etc.) inside the backpack.
  6. Does the backpack have compartments to keep contents and weight in place and distributed appropriately?
    • A backpack with individualized compartments helps position 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.

~Dr. Patron

Rucker Chiropractic Performance & Rehabilitation