Studies have shown how the weight of the backpack can have an adverse affect on a child’s posture. Sadly we do see kids and adolescents with injuries related to backpacks whether its neck or low back pain or posture abnormalities. We don’t want to see kids in here with back problems. Over 89 million kids are carrying backpacks and last year 2,000 kids presented to the ER, chiropractic office and doctors office with backpack related injuries.
It’s great that we’re carrying all these books and trying to enlighten our minds and educate ourselves but sadly, we put this big backpack on our kids. They go sit at school all day with poor posture and it catches up.
The right backpack
First, it’s important that parents shop and buy a backpack that is appropriate for their child. Find one that fits them snugly and is going to be comfortable for the child. The weight of the backpack should not exceed 10 percent of the child’s total body weight. So if the kid weighs 100 pounds, we don’t want more than 10 pounds in that backpack.
We can always put a couple of books in their hands. There are also backpacks that have wheels that they can pull behind them. So first and foremost, do not overload the backpack.
Spot a problem with backpacks
I would look at their posture when they put the backpack on. You can typically tell if a child is straining or struggling to maintain a good, neutral posture. A lot of times they will lean forward trying to support that weight. Typically, kids are going to present with a range of neck problems or neck strain. They may say their head feels kind of tired, fatigued – they’re not able to support their head.
A couple of other quick points. The top of the backpack should extend about two inches below the shoulder blades down to the waistline. We don’t want that backpack way up high or way down low. It should fit snug on the back, both straps should fit snugly around the shoulders. A lot of times we’ll see the kids throwing only one of the straps over the shoulder, we’re symmetrical beings, we have a right and a left, we want to get that snugly fit over both shoulders.
When you’re loading the backpack the heaviest items should be closest to the back. Try not to get anything moving around in the backpack. Try to pack it as snugly as you can.