Now that kids are back in school and homework is in full swing, children and parents should follow these 3 key tips to prevent injury from those heavy backpacks:
- Wear both straps. Using just one strap causes one side of the body to bear the load of the backpack and creates a muscular imbalance, making the body vulnerable to injury. Wearing both straps creates a healthy symmetry and weight is better distributed amongst the shoulders and spine.
- Strap adjustment and backpack placement. The backpack should rest on the middle of the back and straps should be adjusted so that the child can easily stand with good posture AND take the backpack off easily. Straps that are too loose or too tight can create neck strain and a backpack should never rest on the low back.
- Lighten the load. The weight of the backpack should be 10-15% of the childs bodyweight, so using a scale can be helpful to create a good balance. Arrange the items so that the heaviest items are closest to their back as to create a more stable backpack.
If you have made sure that your child is using their backpack properly, and they continue to have neck or back pain, contact us for a Physical Therapy evaluation at www.sptny.com.