It’s never too early to encourage future back health, and with the school year about to start around the country, there’s no better time than now than to focus on the importance of purchasing the right backpack. Your kids are going to be wearing this item nearly every single day over the next nine months or so, and it has to be set up in a way that doesn’t do potential spine damage.
A new report offers some valuable tips on making sure that the backpack your child wears protects them from injury. And lest you think that this subject is somewhat alarmist, realize that ten years ago, 21,000 kids were said by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to go to the emergency room because of an injury caused or exacerbated by a backpack.
Before your child wears a backpack, he or she obviously has to pick one out, and you should be on hand to provide guidance. The more compartments and the more padding, the better. Belts should also be available in the chest and waist area to further distribute weight across the body rather than all on the back. You should also pay attention to size, making certain that the pack your child wants to purchase is sized to their particular age and frame.
Even the right backpack can be undermined if too much weight is loaded into it. The report explains how the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons believes that a backpack should weigh one fifth of a child’s own weight at the maximum. To be safe, you might even go down to 15%. Don’t let your child take things to school he or she doesn’t need. Place heavy objects against their back and secure everything so that items don’t pull kids back toward the ground, a situation that can put unnecessary stress on the back.
Although a child might protest, tell them that they are to wear the backpack the right way. Both shoulder straps should be used and tightened sufficiently rather than hanging loose. A child should lift with their legs when putting the backpack on.
Also watch out for those activities that can exacerbate poor posture or back injuries. Explain to kids a proper way of sitting that won’t encourage slouching, perhaps investing in an exercise ball that they can use to sit on when at home. If you feel that teachers are overloading your children with too much homework and in turn the textbooks that can hurt their backs, speak with them and relate your concerns.
Finally, if your child reports pain, take it seriously. Figure out where the pain is and determine if a visit to a doctor might be in order. While spinal fusion surgery risks may preclude an operation at such a young age, a medical professional may be able to determine a course of action that doesn't entail surgery but nevertheless has positive health benefits.