Our office is very committed to providing you with consistent and very useful health tips. With school starting, it is very important to understand one of the biggest stressors to a child’s spine, their backpack and how it is worn. Now-a-days, kids are wearing larger, more heavier bags and it is putting an unwanted stress on their spine and nervous system.
Check out this picture, which shows how a backpack can change the posture of a child.
See how the backpack forces the child’s head forward. This is a very common posture and usually starts at a young age. This posture puts a tremendous amount of stress on their spine and nervous system.
Stress on the nervous system due to abnormal posture has been proven to change the way a child develops and functions. It can increase the risk for some very common conditions as well.
Check out this second picture showing what a forward head posture can cause (no matter what age).
Our office specializes in a very specific postural corrective technique and we are here to educate you about the dangers of bad posture. Please don’t let this happen to you or your child!
We would like to leave you with our Top 5 Tips for Backpack Safety…
1. Choose a backpack with 2-Straps or on wheels. DO NOT buy a One-Strap backpack that drapes over their shoulder. Two-strap backpacks will be more stable on your child’s shoulders and they will be more comfortable carrying it. Using a one-strap back will put an abnormal weight on one shoulder causing the body to tilt changing the proper posture of the spine.
2. Adjust the straps properly. Adjust the straps of the backpack so that the bottom of the backpack is slightly above the buttocks. When the backpack is below the buttock, your child will reflexively pull their head and shoulder forward to hold the backpack up. This will cause unnecessary strain on the neck and shoulders, which can cause pain, tightness and even headaches!
3. Use the correct weight of the backpack. When loading the backpack make sure the weight of the bag is no more than 10-15% of the the child’s weight. For example, if your child weighs 60 lbs, their bag should never weight more than 6-10 lbs. Can you believe that some kids walk around with backpacks that weight almost half of their body weight! Please be sure to check this for your child, this may be the most important aspect of backpack safety.
4. Load the backpack correctly. When loading the backpack, make sure the largest and heaviest books are placed in first, then stack the smaller and lighter ones on top. This will balance the bag, so that the heaviest point is closest to the body, making it easier for the child to carry their books.
5. Use the “Belt” strap. Most two-strap bags come with a strap that buckles around the waist. It is important that the child uses it. This will make the bag much stronger, supportive and way more comfortable!
Please be advised that you are welcome to bring your child to our office for a complimentary backpack safety review. We will also do a postural evaluation with our PostureScreen mobile app. We will take a photo of your child’s backpack on and off to see what it does to their posture (similar to the first picture above).
Thank you for taking time to read this information, should you have any questions please feel free to contact our office at 973.228.0500