Now that school is back and textbooks have been bought, it is important to consider how your child’s school bag is affecting their posture and health. It is important to ensure that your child wears the backpack properly to avoid causing extra stress on the neck, back and shoulders.
Many studies, including one by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, report that backpack-related issues are on the rise.
Tips for wearing a backpack:
- Make sure the bag isn’t too big and should not go four inches below the waistline, otherwise this will increase the pressure on the child’s shoulders.
- Avoid bags with one strap, as only using one strap can cause an unequal distribution of weight which can lead to neck & back pain and also muscle strain.
So make sure the backpack has two wide, padded straps, and that your child is using both.
- Adjust the straps so that the bag is close to the body and not hanging too low (as mentioned above).
- Place heavy items in the back of the bag, closer to the body. If the bag has compartments, use those to help distribute the weight evenly.
- Very importantly, pack light. The backpack should weigh no more than 15% of the child’s body weight.
Look for signs that your child’s backpack is too big or heavy for them:
- Your child struggles to put the bag on.
- They have to lean forward or adjust their posture to carry the school bag.
- You notice/ they mention red marks, tingling or numbness.
At Body Care Health & Chiropractic, Dr Felicity Ede is trained and experienced in treating back and neck pain for a wide range of ages, and also uses a range of gentle techniques proven to be safe and effective for children.