It’s common for kids to lug around backpacks apprearing to be twice their body weight. Though it may seem cool to sling a heavy load over one shoulder – long-term head, neck and shoulder pain is not. Here are some helpful tips that will help your child carry their backpack with ease.

Backpacks can affect your child’s health

Carrying a heavy load can lead to poor posture and a distorted spinal column. Over time this can cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.

A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back.

 

 

 

Choose the right backpack

  • Select a lightweight backpack in vinyl or canvas.
  • Pick a backpack with two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, and padded back.
  • Try the backpack for fit and comfort – ensure it’s not too snug around the shoulders and armpits, and that it’s proportionate to the wearer’s body type.

 

 

 

Packing it properly

  • Your child’s backpack should only contain what is needed for that day.
  • A full backpack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.
  • Place the heaviest objects close to the body and light or odd-shaped objects away from the back.

Putting the backpack on

  • Place the backpack on a flat surface and slip on the backpack one shoulder at a time, adjust the straps to fit comfortably.
  • When lifting the backpack use both arms and legs, and bend at the knees – give young children a hand.

 

 

 

 

Wearing a backpack

  • Backpacks should never be worn over only one shoulder – this can result in neck, shoulder and back pain.
  • Both shoulder straps should be used and adjusted so the backpack sits flush against the back.
  • Test the fit of the backpack by sliding your hand between the backpack and your child’s back – if you can’t slide your hand in, the backpack is too snug.