Backpack Safety and Your Child

Posted by Rainbow Pediatrics on Oct 11, 2017 9:43:15 AM

Does your child's backpack feel like 40 pounds of rocks? Have you've noticed your child struggling to put it on, bending forward while carrying it, or complaining of tingling or numbness.backpack safety Rainbow-824952-edited.jpg

The effects that carrying all that extra weight can have on your child's still-growing body is something you should be concerned about. Twelve and thirteen year old children are most at risk because their spines that are still growing.

The problem is serious enough that it has caught the attention of lawmakers in some states, who have pushed for legislation requiring school districts to lighten the load. 

But there are steps you can take to insure the safety of your child. It is important for your child to learn proper backpack safety to protect his or her posture and prevent injury. Proper fit and adjustment of a backpack can help prevent shoulder and back pain.

Picking the appropriate size backpack for your child is essential. It shouldn’t be much larger than the child’s back and should not hang very far below the waist.

Wearing a backpack too high or too low on the back can lead to slouching or hunching forward to carry the weight. Position the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles, allowing it to rest evenly and the child to easily put on and remove the pack. The bottom of the backpack should rest on the lower back or hips.

Shoulder straps also play an important role. Properly fitting the straps can also significantly reduce discomfort.  The weight should be evenly distributed across the back and shoulders. Wearing a backpack too low or too high on the back can shift the way the weight is carried to rely more on the lower back, neck or shoulders.tress those muscles.

If your child is complaining of pain from their backpack, try re-positioning it using the shoulder straps. Chest and waist straps can also be useful to help distribute the weight across the body. 

When selecting a backpack, look for:
 
  • An ergonomic design 
  • The correct size: never wider or longer than your child's torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
  • Padded back and shoulder straps
  • Hip and chest belts to help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso
  • Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight
  • Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
  • Reflective material

Remember, a roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it.  Help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it's not essential, leave it at home.

The exceptional team of healthcare providers at Rainbow Pediatrics are dedicated to educating families and individuals in the community about proper safety and injury prevention techniques for children.

Our board certified pediatricians strive to be the community leader in pediatric health each day by delivering a level of care that's second-to-none in Central Ohio.   

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Topics: Backpack safety