Being loaded down with textbooks, health club gear and college provides could make backpacks heavy and exhausting to put on. If they’re not worn correctly, backpacks could trigger again, neck and shoulder ache in youngsters and youths. While backpacks haven’t been proven to trigger scoliosis or long-term issues, it’s by no means too early to start out good habits that may lower again pressure and ache.
To establish the proper backpack, ensure it’s the proper measurement. Bigger shouldn’t be essentially higher. The extra room there may be in a backpack, the extra your little one will carry — and the heavier the backpack will develop into.
Make positive to decide on the correct backpack that matches your little one and their wants the most effective. The bag you select must be proportional to your little one’s top.
The backpack ought to have two broad, padded shoulder straps. Having adjustable straps which can be broad and distribute weight evenly between each shoulders is essential. More padding doesn’t translate to much less ache. Both straps ought to keep even in size. Non padded straps may be uncomfortable and dig into your little one’s shoulders.
A backpack with a padded again can present elevated consolation when the backpack is appropriately fitted and near their again. It additionally protects them from being poked by sharp objects or edges (pencils, rulers, notebooks, and many others.) contained in the pack.
Make positive the backpack features a waist belt or chest strap, which assist redistribute the load of the backpack extra evenly throughout the physique.
Also, search for backpacks with compartments. These will help evenly distribute the load of contents all through the backpack.
Include your little one within the decision-making course of and assist them make a sensible buy. This will permit them to tote their packs comfortably all 12 months lengthy and also you gained’t have to search around for a alternative.
To safely pack a college backpack, make it possible for most of its weight rests within the curve of your little one’s decrease again. Pack the heaviest gadgets like textbooks and computer systems closest to the physique and place different gadgets equally on the correct and left sides. Pack gadgets within the completely different compartments. This helps distribute heavy masses evenly.
Backpacks shouldn’t weigh greater than 15% of your little one’s physique weight. This means a baby who weighs 100 kilos shouldn’t have a backpack that weighs greater than 15 kilos.
If your little one must lean ahead to assist the backpack’s weight, it’s too heavy. Consider utilizing a backpack with handles or a rolling backpack in case your faculty permits it.
To assist maintain lighten the load, encourage your little one to wash the backpack weekly and take out unneeded gadgets. Your little one can even retailer gadgets in a locker when attainable, and take solely what’s wanted to highschool.
It’s additionally essential to show your little one the best way to decide up and put on a backpack the correct means. When selecting up their backpack, your little one ought to bend their knees to keep away from again pressure. Then, the hot button is carrying the backpack so it places weight on the strongest muscle mass within the physique: the again and belly muscle mass.
Use each shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can pressure muscle mass.
Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack rests in the midst of your little one’s again.
The backpack ought to match near your little one’s physique.
Secure the waist or chest strap. This helps maintain the backpack near your little one’s physique and distribute the load extra evenly.
Make positive the underside of the backpack rests within the curve of the decrease again. The backpack ought to go from waist stage as much as about 1-2 inches beneath the shoulders. A backpack ought to by no means sit greater than 4 inches beneath the waistline (bellybutton).
There could also be instances the place your little one or teen shouldn’t put on a backpack, similar to after surgical procedure or an damage. Consider requesting a second set of books to have at dwelling, if attainable, and time to shuttle to a locker so solely gadgets for one class at a time must be carried.
Reinforcing wholesome again habits to your little one will help cut back the chance of again ache. Do not ignore again ache in a baby or teenager that happens at instances apart from carrying a backpack. Ask your pediatrician for recommendation.
More info is out there at orthokids.org/security/backpack-safety.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Saji Azerf, MD, FAAP is a member of the AAP Section of Orthopedics. He practices as non operative pediatric orthopedist in suburban Atlanta.
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