With the new school year starting, it is a good time for parents to check the way kids are wearing their backpacks to help avoid any neck/shoulder and lower back issues. It has been estimated that as many as 1 in 3 Victorian school students suffer significant back or neck pain caused by heavy backpacks. In the United States alone around 14,000 children are treated for backpack related injuries each year. Here are some tips to help prevent pain and injury when wearing a backpack:
Keep an eye on the weight
Research has suggested that the weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of the overall weight of the child. For example, if your child weighs 40 kgs, their bag should not weigh more than 4kg.
Positioning is key
- When wearing a backpack, it should not extend past their shoulders when sitting down with it or be wider than their chest.
- The straps of the backpack should be wide and padded.
- Always ensure your child uses both straps.
- Tighten the straps so that the pack is close to your child’s body. If the backpack hangs too low, it will increase the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking. This creates pressure on their hips as well. It should ideally sit below the waist.
- Waist and shoulder straps will help keep their pack close to their body too.
Packing is important!
When you or your child packs their backpack, heavier items should be placed closest to their back and lighter items packed away from the spine. If you can, get your kids in the habit of checking their bags each day for items that are not needed and could be left at school in lockers.
How can we help?
If your child is complaining about pain from, contact the Osteopaths at Whole Body Health and Wellness on 5200 1044, and we can assess them and give you some advice and treatment.
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