Every year thousands of children across the country return to school in January and it is important that every year parents look at the quality and fit of their child’s backpack, as heavy, incorrectly fitted and badly packed school backpacks can lead to spinal health problems as a child grows.
Spinal health is crucial at any age, especially for children, and items like heavy backpacks may cause strain and discomfort to the spine. Although spinal pain can be attributed to a number of factors heavy and incorrectly worn bags may lead to poor posture, slouching and uneven hips.
If you are worried about your child's backpack weight, here are a few lifestyle and backpack modifications tips:
What to look for in a backpack
1. Make sure the backpack is the right size for your child, no wider than their chest and no lower than the hollow of their back.
2. A moulded frame on the back, that when adjusted fits their spine.
3. A bag made from a light weight material like canvas, with two padded straps.
4. Adjustable waist and sternum straps.
5. Separate compartments that allow for easy packing and weight distribution.
How to carry the backpack in a 'spine-safe' way
1. Ensure that the weight of the backpack is no more than 10% of your child’s weight when packed. Only pack essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.
2. Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way.
3. Secure the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason).
4. Always wear both straps, tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one-strap it’ anymore.
Source and for further tips: https://chiropractors.asn.au/resources/health-initiatives/backtoschool