Thousands of children each year suffer from a variety of backpack related injuries including back and neck pain, shoulder pain, muscle strains and spasms, nerve damage and headaches.
These conditions are preventable with just a few quick tips:
- Check Weight: The total weight of the load should not exceed more than 10% of the child’s body weight. For example, if your child weighs 100 lbs, the weight of the backpack should not be more than 10 lbs.
- Right Size: choose a backpack that fits the child’s size. An 8 year old needs a smaller backpack than a teenager.
- Design: Thick, padded straps are best. A waist strap is also very important. Our shoulders are not meant to carry all that weight
- Packing: Place the heaviest items closest to the child’s back. Using the bags compartments to even out the weight helps too.
- Wear the Bag Right: Be sure to use both shoulder straps when carrying the bag. If the bag has a waist strap, use it! Do not lean forward when walking or standing with the bag. Stand up straight.
Hopefully these simple tips can save unwanted pain and injury this school year!
Terri Rosel, NP-C
Nurse Practitioner at Cedar Springs School Health Center