It is that time of year - back to school and the loading up of backpacks as kids start to bring home books and homework.
Backpacks are a major concern for parents of school age children during this time of year. The Massachusetts Chiropractic Society Inc. along with Malden chiropractor Dr. Mary P. Medwar, P.C. offers the following guidelines:
- Make sure the child’s backpack weights no more than 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. A heavier backpack will cause the child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back. For example a 50-pound child should not carry more than 5 pounds.
- Where it sits makes a big difference. A backpack should never land more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing the child to lean forward when walking and distort their posture.
- Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. 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.
- 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.
- Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into the child’s shoulders.
- Use rollerpacks or backpacks on wheels with caution. Children tend to overload these packs because they are on wheels and then need to haul them up bus and school stairs resulting in injury. Many school districts have banned rollerpacks because they clutter hallways resulting in dangerous trips and falls.
- A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning 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.
- Just because a backpack is bigger does not mean it's better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry and the heavier the backpack will be.
For more information log onto http://www.masschiro.org.