Backpack Injury. Should Parents Be Worried About Their Children?
With all of the stressors that parents have to worry about, a backpack may be far down the list of priorities. As a parent, the main priority is to keep your child healthy.
Your spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are disks that act as shock absorbers. When you place a heavy backpack filled with books, binders and gym clothes, the stress can pull you backwards. This causes you to arch your back unnaturally and compress your spine. Research shows that up to 60% of children will experience back pain by the time they are 18 years old.
Avoid Backpack Injury
However, it is an easy task to ensure that when purchasing a new backpack, that the correct one is selected in order to minimize the risk of damage to our growing children. The maximum weight of a loaded backpack should not exceed 15 % of the child’s body weight, to keep your child healthy.
As great as the start of school is, it’s important to remember backpacks can cause injury if not worn or packed correctly. Click to tweet
Backpack Safety Month
Backpack safety month brings together parents, chiropractors and doctors in an effort to ensure that children and teens don’t do serious harm to their back, shoulders and nerves to their arms by improperly wearing their backpack. A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back. When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency During Backpack Safety Month:
- Pick the right backpack that fits your child’s size and strength. If they can’t stand up straight, then they may be carrying too much weight.
- Choose a pack with a hip strap or waist belt and a padded back. A strap or belt can take as much as 50-70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine and will equalize the strain on the bones, joints, and muscles.
- Encourage them to always use both shoulder straps.
- Remind your child to take their backpack off when standing for a long period of time to decrease the pressure on their spine.
- Pack It Right. Heavier objects closer to the body. Only pack what is needed for the day / evening and leave the rest at home or at school.
- Consider using a wheeled backpack.
Straighten Up Canada!
Canada’s chiropractors have developed a free app featuring easy-to-perform posture exercises that you can use in just three minutes a day for you to help keep your child healthy. Practice The Straighten Up Canada program anywhere as a great warm up, cool down, stand-alone routine or ergonomic break.
Good posture will help you to:
- Look and feel even better than you already do
- Prevent back aches and muscle pains
- Decrease wear and tear on your joints
- Use less energy for daily tasks and
- Increase your spine’s flexibility and resilience
Backpack Safety Month: You can’t just carry everyone else’s hopes and fears around in your backpack and expect to stand up straight. Click to tweet
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!