School is almost back in session. Your kids are probably excited to see their friends and find out who their next homeroom teacher is. You may even be a little excited for some quiet afternoons after a fun-packed summer filled with play dates, beach days, family vacations, and camp memories.
At Raveling Chiropractic Center, we want to celebrate this exciting season with your family, which is why we are offering a few tips and tricks to help your child avoid backpack related injuries. The US Census Data on Consumer Product Safety estimates that 14,000 kids receive treatment annually for back and neck injuries related to improper backpack use. To avoid strains, pulls, and falls, scale back on weight and make sure your child’s backpack is fitted properly.
1. WEIGHING IN: After you’ve loaded up all your kid’s books, notebooks, binders, pencil boxes, and calculators, you might even have a hard time lifting your child’s backpack. Remember, a backpack should weigh no more than 10% – 20% of your child’s weight, so opt for a smaller backpack and only pack essentials. If your school has a locker, encourage your child to use it. Over packing can cause issues with your child’s balance and lead to slouching and even falling.
2. WEAR IT RIGHT: We know your child might want to look cool. The one shoulder sling or slouching backpack might seem like a perfect balance of casual disinterest and fashion-forward accessorizing to them, but it can lead to shoulder strains and poor back alignment. Encourage your child to wear his or her backpack on both shoulders and make sure it doesn’t hang more than four inches below the waist.
3. THE GOLDILOCKS RULE: Your kid’s backpack straps play a big part in his or her back health. If the backpack straps are too narrow, this can lead to nerve damage around the shoulders and neck or straining. Make sure your child’s backpack has thick, padded straps and – when possible – choose something that has a chest strap or low back support to help distribute weight best.
If your child seems to be in pain, or is hunching and slouching more than usual, contact our Dunedin Chiropractor for a consultation. There are lots of things to be excited (and even a little nervous) about on the first day of school – like whether your child has the perfectly coordinated outfit or is ready to take the bus alone for the first time – his or her backpack should NOT be one of them!