- Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of his/her body weight. A heavier pack will cause your child to bend forward to support the weight on the back, rather than the shoulders.
- The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
- 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.
- Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry, and the heavier the backpack will be.
- Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low back pain.
- Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into your child's shoulders.
- The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can fit to your child's body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle, causing spinal misalignment and pain.
- If the pack is still too heavy, encourage your child to only bring home the books he or she needs. Sometimes children are worried they will forget a needed book and end up bringing home all possibles school materials.
Chiropractic care can help.
If your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call us. Chiropractors are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. In addition, doctors of chiropractic can also prescribe exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, along with instruction in good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits.