As school begins, whether you have virtual learners or classroom learners, backpacks are a crucial piece to a new school year. Backpacks have become a stylish accessory while also carrying function through our daily lives. Back to school shopping and getting a new backpack is exciting, but we want to make sure your child practices safe, healthy habits when choosing their backpack this season.
Are you guilty of overloading your backpack? The effects on your posture and back might alter your actions going forward. As for children, there are findings that can help lighten their loads and keep their backs healthy. According to AAOS, backpacks should weigh no more than 10-15% of your child’s body weight. The weight percentage is related more to children who are 12 years old and younger. Overweight backpacks can cause neck and back pain, poor posture, and long term difficulties for extreme cases and chronic misuse. Recommendations for injury prevention include cleaning out backpacks once per week and carrying backpacks correctly- using both straps on both shoulders to evenly distribute weight. Check how your child wears their backpack to see if they lean forward, struggle to get it on or off, and see if they complain about back pain. If these apply, it might be time for a new backpack!
Here are some quick facts from NSC to create safe backpack habits:
- backpack should not be wider than child’s torso and not hang more than 4 inches below the waist
- pick a backpack that fits your child, not their things (buying a larger backpack will cause you to overfill it)
- backpacks should be padded where it touches your body (shoulders and back)
- wear backpack correctly with both shoulders in straps
- only carry essentials
- put heavier contents in first so they fall towards the center of the backpack
- backpacks with a waist strap are suggested
Iowa Ortho’s Suggested Backpacks for School and Activities
L.L. Bean Original Book Pack- $37