Backpack Safety: Tips from Your Snellville Chiropractor
School is beginning again, and students are packing up their backpacks full of school supplies, lunch boxes, and textbooks. While you may not be surprised to hear that back pain is one of the most popular complaints among adults, it might shock you to learn that young kids and teens often deal with back pain as well. One major contributing factor to this discomfort, primarily for teens with heavier books, is backpacks. Your local Snellville chiropractor, Dr. Dionne Anderson, has some fantastic backpack safety tips to share with you to help your children best prepare for optimal spine health as they return to school this year.
Buy a Supportive Backpack
We know this time of year can be expensive, but you should try your best to purchase a quality backpack that meets the needs of your individual kids. Function should take precedence over style, and we encourage you to explain to your kids why this is important. Backpacks should have straps with sufficient padding and ones that are wide enough to comfortably rest upon the shoulders. Avoid one-shoulder bags or messenger bags, as they don’t offer support or problem balance when worn. It’s also a good idea to get a backpack with multiple pockets, particularly for older students who have more to carry, as they can help distribute the weight more evenly and add to the overall support.
Wear It Properly
Once you select a supportive backpack, ensure that it fits your child well and teach them how to wear it properly. Little kids don’t need huge, full-size backpacks, and high schoolers don’t need tiny backpacks. Make sure it fits their body and is the right size to carry whatever they need. The bottom of the backpack should ideally rest at the bottom of the back and should not hang onto or below the child’s rear end. The straps should be as tight as is comfortable to keep the backpack close to the child’s body. This helps minimize strain in the neck and back and reduces problems with spinal curvature and poor posture.
Pay Attention to the Weight
Most experts recommend that a backpack weighs no more than 10% to 15% of the weight of the student wearing it. While this may not always be realistic, it’s an important goal to keep in mind to maintain good spinal health. Students aren’t always able to visit lockers between classes, and they may have to bring home multiple books daily in order to complete homework in several classes. Encourage them to pack their backpack effectively, keeping heavier items against the back and bottom of their bookbag, with lighter items on the top and outside areas. You can also suggest that they carry one or two books in their arms if their backpack is too heavy.
Taking these backpack safety tips into consideration at the beginning of the new school year will help set your child up for a healthy spine all year long. If your children have struggled with back pain or if you simply want to optimize their spinal and overall health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Dionne Anderson at Hand and Heart Chiropractic. Dr. Anderson and her team serve those in Snellville, Lilburn, Loganville, Centerville, Grayson, and other nearby cities.
American Chiropractic Association. “Backpack Safety Tips.” https://www.acatoday.org/patients/health-wellness-information/backpack-safety
Triano, J. “Backpacks and Back Pain in Children.” Spine-Health. https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/backpacks-and-back-pain-children.