Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School Backpack Safety

Being a chiropractor, it's almost my duty to be mindful of your spine at all times.  That's why it is only natural that I should be concerned with what your child is putting on their back for the majority of the year.  The added weight of a backpack on your child's back will change the physical distribution of the weight on their spine and the other joints of their body which means that it will change their posture without them even noticing.  And we all know that posture is essential at all times of the day (if you read the previous blogpost, you'll know what I'm talking about).  Long-term, poor use of an ill-fitting backpack can lead to spinal health issues down the road.  I know I never wore my backpack correctly when I got a little older, so it's important to make sure that your child is taking good care of their back while wearing their backpack.

Here are 5 easy things to keep in mind when shopping for a suitable backpack and wearing that backpack:

1 - Do NOT buy a backpack that is wider and taller than your child's torso.  This will only lead to problems like in number 5.

2 - Make sure that the backpack has 2 adjustable shoulder straps with ample padding.  By having 2 straps with a good amount of padding, you will be able to distribute the weight of the backpack as evenly as possible.  And make sure they use both straps!

3 - Look for a backpack with a padded back.  The back padding will protect your child from sharp objects poking through and will add a degree of comfort to the backpack.

4 - Don't allow your child to let their backpack hang below their waistline.  By doing so, your child will be putting far too much stress on their upper back which in turn leads to extreme posture changes.

5 - Keep the backpack as light as possible.  By putting too many heavy books, pens, pencils, MP3 players, lunchboxes, or what have you in your child's backpack, you will just be adding to the undue stress on their spine.

I hope you found these tips useful. Happy backpack shopping!

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