Backpacks Can Harm Children Says Chiropractor in Port St. Lucie, Dr. Ray Sykes

Mom, You May Just Save Your Child’s Back!


Chiropractor In Port St. Lucie Since 1985 Wants You To Know the Risks of Wearing Improperly Fitted or Over Loaded Backpacks


How to Select Your Child’s Backpack

Price is clearly a factor for many parents.  Fortunately, purchasing a safe backpack doesn’t have to break the bank.  Look for these features when you shop for your child’s backpack:

Size:  Select a backpack that fits snugly to the curve of your child’s back.  Look for a backpack that doesn’t hang below the waist.  A loaded pack should never fall more than 4 inches below the waistline.

Shoulder Straps:  Choose a backpack with two adjustable, well-padded shoulder straps.  Shoulder strap anchors should fall 1 to 2 inches below the top of the shoulder.

Waist Belt:  A waist belt can help ensure the weight is carried properly.

Wheels:  If your child’s school allows wheeled backpacks, heavier loads can be pulled along instead of carried to offload the weight.  Be sure the extended handle length allows your child to pull the backpack without excessive bending or twisting.

How To Properly Load and Wear School Backpacks

 Studies have shown back and neck pain in school aged children is most frequently caused by improper backpack use.  Painful mid back along with spinal misalignment (subluxation) can lead to long term postural defects.  But carrying a school backpack doesn’t need to cause alarm.

Follow these loading and carrying guidelines to eliminate the most common sources of backpack related pain in children:

Spinal problems in teenagers can be attributed the their long practice of carrying school book backpacks that are too heavy or are improperly fitted.

Shoulder and Neck Pain

15% Rule:  Never allow your child to carry more than 15% of his or her weight in the backpack.  For example, a 100 pound child should never carry more than 15 pounds in his/her backpack.

Heavy Items on Back:  Securely pack heavier items to remain close to your child’s back.

Keep It Clean:  Remove items not needed for school that day to minimize the weight.

Wear Both shoulder Straps:  Distribute the weight evenly across both shoulders by always wearing both straps.  Adjust straps to allow free movement of the arms without twisting or bending to the side.

Use the Waist Belt:  Reduce the load on the shoulders and neck by securely fastening the waist belt.

Center the Pack:  Have your child wear his/her backpack centered across the curve of the mid back.  It should not hang below the waist belt.

Use the Wheels:  Use the wheels if so equipped, particularly when carrying heavy loads.

Follow these tips to avoid back injuries in the teenage years due to school backpacks.

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