After the autumn vacation, back-to-school shopping season is under way, with parents buying all of the new supplies that soon will be loaded into their child’s backpack. So choosing a proper backpack as a gift for your child’s autumn vacation will be a very good idea. As parents make decisions on how to budget for supply purchases and what products to buy, the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors wants them to keep their child’s health in mind when selecting a backpack.
There are so many backpacks to choose from, and choosing the right one for your child is not always easy. Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes-all of which help kids express their own sense of style. As practical as backpacks are for those who use them, backpacks can cause strained muscles and joints and back pain when worn incorrectly.
The human spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as shock absorbers. When something heavy-such as a backpack filled with books-is incorrectly placed on your child’s shoulders, the force of that extra weight can pull your child backwards. To compensate, your child may bend forward at the hips or arch his or her back, which can cause your child’s spine to compress unnaturally. Because of the heavy weight he or she is carrying, your child might begin to develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.
“It is estimated that at least half of all student backpacks are too heavy for children to be carrying,” the group’s vice president Brett Wartenberg said. “As a result, doctors and chiropractors are seeing more children than ever complaining of back pain, which can have long-term health implications.”
Along with back pain, students can suffer from headaches, posture problems and various other health problems.
What can we do about this? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that before you purchase a backpack, look for the following five criteria:
- Choose a lightweight backpack that doesn’t add a lot of weight to your child’s load. For example, although leather backpacks look cool, they weigh more than traditional canvas backpacks.
- Choose a backpack with two wide, padded shoulder straps. Straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders.
- Choose a backpack that has a padded back, which provides increased comfort and protects the wearer from being poked by sharp edges (such as pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the backpack.
- Choose a backpack that has a waist belt, which helps distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
- Choose a backpack that has multiple compartments, which also helps distribute weight more evenly.
Although you choose the proper backpack for your child, the health of your child can not be guaranteed. Because the may carry the backpack in wrong ways. Many kids wear their backpacks over just one shoulder, which is the wrong thing to do. This makes the person lean to one side to offset the extra weight, and they might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck. Wearing the backpack incorrectly can also lead to poor posture. So, make sure your children wear the backpack using both straps. It’s also a good idea to tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit close to the body, and it should sit 2 inches above the waist.
In order to make your kids carry the backpack in proper way, we give the following suggestions:
- Face the backpack before you lift it.
- Bend at the knees.
- Using both hands, check the weight of the backpack.
- Lift with your legs, not your back.
- Carefully put one shoulder strap on at a time; never sling the backpack onto one shoulder.
Proper backpack with proper style and color will add more fun as well as health to your children’s life.