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Backpack Guidelines

It’s that time of year that parents love and kids hate: back to school. There will inevitably be lots of books and notebooks and homework that needs to be transported to and from school. Carrying a backpack may be a necessary thing, but there are a few things you can do to ensure it isn’t taking a toll on our child’s back (and health). Experts recommend that the backpack should not weigh an excess of 15% of the child’s body weight. Carrying any more that this could result in back, neck, and shoulder pain, headaches, or even aggravate preexisting scoliosis conditions.

Packing the backpack should be done strategically. The heaviest items should be loaded first and rest against the back. The remaining items should be loaded in order to evenly distribute the weight. The backpack should also be worn with both straps over the shoulders. Wearing the backpack on just one shoulder creates a lot of stress placed upon one side of the body, which can lead to compensation patterns and pain later on.

When choosing a backpack, here are a few things to consider:

1. Make sure it is the right size for your child. The bottom should rest against the low back.

2. There should be wide, padded, adjustable shoulder straps.

3. A hip strap or lumbar support cushion may be beneficial by helping to take some of the load off the back.

4. A roller type backpack is not recommended due to its bulky size and weight. They are also typically much larger, thus leading to the possibility of overloading it with unnecessary items.