It’s about that time when our children and teens begin heading back to school. Given that, we’d like to share a few important tips, compliments of our friends at the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), with the parents of those lugging around those backpacks filled with books, laptops and other school related materials.
Backpack Safety Checklist:
Is the backpack the correct size for your child? The backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso, and the pack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps? Non-padded straps are not only uncomfortable, but also they can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles.
Does your child use both straps? Lugging a heavy backpack by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain, and poor posture.
Are the shoulder straps adjustable? The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. The backpack should be evenly centered in the middle of your child's back.
Does the backpack have a padded back? A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges on school supplies (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
Does the pack have several compartments? A backpack with individualized compartments helps position the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back, and try to place the heaviest items closet to the body.
Source: American Chiropractic Association. August 17, 2006.