Choosing the Right Backpack For Your Child’s Good Health

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It’s that time of year again…many of you will be back-to-school shopping soon if you haven’t already.  If you’re purchasing a new backpack for your kids this year, here are some suggestions and tips to make sure you make the best purchase for your kids’ posture and health.  Use these tips to teach your kids how to pack and wear their backpacks!

1.  Choose the right pack 

Choose a pack that is as lightweight as possible and has 2 wide adjustable shoulder straps.  One of the biggest challenges we have as parents is the weight of the backpack as it fills with textbooks, devices and other odds and ends.  Whatever you can do to make the pack lighter and to adjust it to your child’s body is critical.

2.  Pack it properly

Pack the heaviest items closest to your child’s back and closer to the bottom of the bag.  The closer you can keep the weight to their body, the easier it is on their spine (and ultimately their nervous system).  Try to teach your kids to take only what is needed for that day, and to leave what they don’t need that night in their locker or desk.

The healthiest backpacks weigh no more than 10-15% of a person’s body weight. That’s a tough challenge for small children who may not weigh more than 30 or 40 lbs.!

3.  Wear it right

Backpacks should be worn on both shoulders.  The pack should be snug to your child’s body, not dangling off the shoulders.  If there is a waist strap, tighten it enough to allow the weight of the backpack to ride on the hips and relieve some of the weight from the shoulders.

If you have older kids who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing their backpack properly, go ahead and appeal to their vanity.  Let them know that wearing it over one shoulder will cause that one shoulder to drop lower than the other.  And over time, it can actually cause their spine to shift and twist.

Why does this matter?

Over 50% of all kids report having an episode of back pain at least once before their teenage years. Backpacks are a significant contributing factor when they’re too heavy or not worn properly over time.

More importantly, as health care practitioners, we are seeing an alarming increase in postural changes that reflect structural abnormalities in the spines of children.   Because the spinal cord and nervous system are protected inside the spine, any change in the normal structure affects the nervous system in a negative way.

If you’re concerned about your child’s posture, or you have questions about proper backpack use, please call us at 647-995-1251, email drshawna@elevatewomenshealth.ca, or visit our website at www.ElevateWomensHealth.ca for more information on kids’ health.

Better yet, click HERE now to book your child's FREE consultation and backpack checkup!