When it comes to back-to-school season, there is always a ton of planning and excitement swirling around. Kids are gearing up for another school year with their friends and wondering how their new classes are going to be while parents are doing never-ending rounds of shopping for clothes and supplies. But when it comes to backpacks, not much thought is put into which one to buy and what should go in it.
It’s time to start.
Backpacks that don’t fit right and are too heavy can cause a child pains and aches in their head, neck, shoulders, and back. It can also cause problems in their posture – making them slump over with the weight or lean to one side, which can throw off their alignment.
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow to ensure your child’s backpack isn’t a hazard…
Choose a supportive backpack
A high-quality backpack that is lightweight and sturdy is the way to go. You’ll want one that has two thick, padded foam straps. This will help to keep the weight of the backpack evenly distributed.
Make sure the fit is right
The main contents of the backpack should be in proportion to your child’s torso. The top of the backpack should be just below the neck and the bottom of the backpack shouldn’t fall more than 4″ below the waist.
Research shows that, generally, backpacks should be no more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight. For example, if a child weighs 70 pounds, their backpacks (and the contents in it) should only weigh between seven and 14 pounds. To stay within line of this rule, make sure your kid is only carrying what they need for the day and keeping everything else in their locker.
Keep the heavier items, such as textbooks, closest to the back of the backpack where it will have the most support. Put lighter items, such as small notebooks and calculators, towards the front in the zipper pockets.
With the mounds of preparation that comes with getting ready to send your children back to school, be sure to spend the extra time to pick the right backpack, and for teaching your kids how to pack in a way that will keep them safe and healthy throughout the year.
If you need help with adjusting the backpack so it fits in a healthy way, or need to determine which weight is best for your child, your STAT Health team is always here to help!