Backpacks and Kiddos
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, backpacks should weigh no more than 20% of your child’s weight, although ideally it should be less than 10%. Nowadays that is almost impossible to reach considering all the things they need to carry like lunch boxes, books, and snow gear.
A simple way to know if the backpack is too heavy is if your child is struggling to put the backpack on! Also, a sign that the bag is too heavy is if they are no longer walking upright, but instead lean their torso forward to attempt to counterbalance the load.
Picking out the perfect backpack is key. Find backpacks that have double padded, wide straps. Assure there is a waist belt your child can wear for extra support. Do not buy a backpack that is overly large for your child. Sometimes, less is more, in terms of pockets as hidden items or clutter only add weight.
Remember to clean out the backpack often as clutter leads to unnecessary weight. Try to have them minimize what they are bringing to and from school.
The correct way to wear a backpack is to adjust the straps so that the bottom of the backpack hangs just slightly below the hips. Be sure the bag is snug against the back. Remember, always wear both shoulder straps!
Unfortunately carrying a heavy backpack can cause serious problems to a child’s spine after time. Typically children will complain of shoulder and neck pain. Chiropractic is great for helping kids with upper body aches caused from heavy backpacks. Gentle adjustments of the neck and upper back can greatly reduce tension in that area. Here at Watkins Family Chiropractic, Dr. Josh and Dr. Lindsey have worked with many children with similar problems. If you are in the Savage, Burnsville, or Prior Lake area, stop by our clinic!