Yalich Clinic – Is Your Child’s Backpack Too Heavy?
“Back-to-School” Shouldn’t Be “Back Breaking”
Millions of children, and even some adults, carry all of their school and worldly possessions in a BACK PACK. Not a bad idea to have everything together in one place but together is too much. Some of the recent back packs we weighed in our office were over 30 pounds, on kids that do not weigh more then 75 pounds themselves. Will that cause problems in that child’s future? As the wind blows, the tree grows. One of my favorite sayings. If while a child is growing, they are pulled to one side or another, their body will have a tendency to accommodate to the weight and shift itself. Done over and over again, this is what the body will get used to and grow that way.
The following are tips to help your children and others prevent back problems as they get older:
- Back Packs are made with 2 straps! They are made to be used on BOTH SHOULDERS. Placed on one shoulder will cause the body to tilt and accommodate.
- Make sure your back pack is no more than 5-10% of the child’s body weight. In the example earlier, this child was carrying almost one third of her body weight. This can force the body into a forward position forcing increased pressure on the discs of the spine.
- Shift or remove any sharp or bulky objects from the back of the pack, to avoid them rubbing or digging into your child’s back.
- Does your back pack have padded shoulder straps? They will help cushion the load and keep the straps from digging into the shoulder musculature.
- The shoulder straps should always be adjustable. Each back pack should be fitted to each child, not being allowed to dangle uncomfortably.
- Voice your opinion! If your child’s back pack is too heavy, speak to their teachers about the option on lighter handouts, as opposed to bringing each book home every day.
- Last, but not least, communicate with your child. Get them to understand the “whys” of the above rules and the benefits to them in the future.
Remember, as the wind blows, the tree grows, and we want your children to have the best chance of growing properly with good spinal health.