Have you picked up your child’s backpack recently? Chances are, it feels like it weighs a ton! Shoulder, neck and back pain in adolescents could be linked to the loads students are lugging around every day. Choosing the right backpack can be crucial to helping students of all ages stay pain free.
Choose Wisely Consider the following when choosing a backpack:
- Be sure the backpack has 2 padded straps; the straps should be at least 2 inches wide.
- Look for one with padded back support.
- A waist strap will help ensure even distribution of weight.
- A backpack with multiple compartments will also help distribute weight more evenly.
- Make sure you choose a backpack that’s made of a lightweight material.
- An alternative option is to choose a backpack with wheels and a retractable handle for easy rolling.
Wear Properly Finding the right backpack is only half the battle. This school year pay close attention to how the backpack is worn. The following are tips to wearing the backpack properly:
- Always use both shoulder straps.
- Keep both straps tightened — the backpack should never sit lower than the belt line.
- The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10-15% of the user’s body weight.
- Organize: distribute weight evenly by placing heavier items closer to the back and lighter items near the outside.
- Lift the backpack using proper technique: bend from the knees, not from the back.
- Wear for no longer than 30 minutes at a time. (It it a good idea to take it off and place on the ground if you just are standing around waiting for the bus.)
Follow these tips to keep your child pain-free this school year. For more details on backpack safety for your student, click here.