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New School Year, New Backpack Safety Tips

As practical as they are, backpacks can cause strain on our muscles and joints if they are too heavy and used incorrectly, ultimately leading to spinal misalignment and back pain. This can occur in people of all ages, including kids who lug around their backpacks during the school year. Therefore, it’s essential to keep a few backpack safety tips in mind so that your child does not experience back and neck pain from their backpack.

A Good Fitted Backpack

Even though the school year started, it’s not too late to make sure your child’s backpack is the proper one. It’s important for their backpack to have shoulder straps that are adjustable so that the backpack fits your child’s body properly. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to droop, increasing the weight on the shoulders. When a heavy backpack is worn incorrectly, the weight’s force tends to pull the child backward. As a reaction to compensate, the child may bend forward at the hips or arch their back, which will essentially cause shoulder, neck, and back pain. Thus, encourage your child to use the chest and waist straps, and to adjust them to the load.

Wearing one shoulder strap may be the “cool” thing to do but it’s important to urge your child to wear both shoulder straps so that the weight of the backpack is proportioned evenly, reducing the chance of neck and muscle spasms.

Choosing a backpack that has a padded back is important as well. It not only provides comfort but also protects kids from being poked by sharp objects in their backpack, such as rulers and pens.

Lighten the Load

According to the American Chiropractic Association, a backpack should weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of a child’s weight. For example, if your child weighs 80 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 4 to 8 pounds.

good fitting backpack
pack backpack lighter

So before your child heads out the door to school, check the weight of their backpack by using your bathroom scale to ensure the backpack is not over 10 percent of their body weight.

Pack Smartly

Teach your child to load their backpack with the heaviest items at the bottom and to make use of all multiple compartments so that the backpack load is distributed as evenly as possible.

Additionally, help your child choose what is absolutely necessary to carry in their backpack so they are not lugging around their entire locker’s worth of books and school supplies all day. If they don’t need to carry a specific book on a given day, tell them to leave it at home or in their locker.

If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, it is important to seek treatment from a chiropractor to help align their spine. At Merckling Family Chiropractor PC, Dr. Merckling treats people of all ages who suffer from back and neck pain due to misalignment from carrying heavy bags and backpacks. Call our office today (631) 286-2300 to schedule an appointment.

 
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