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How to Properly Wear a Backpack

Kid Wearing a BackpackDoes it seem like your child is having difficulty carrying their backpack?  It could be because it is too heavy or they’re carrying it improperly.  The effects of carrying a heavy backpack on a growing child’s spine can be significant.  These can include neck, shoulder, back problems, and bad posture.  If these issues aren’t fixed, they can cause longer lasting problems.

A backpack should weigh NO MORE THAN 10% OF A CHILD’S WEIGHT!  For example, a backpack for a 60lbs child should weigh no more than 6 lbs and no more than 8lbs for an 80lbs child.  A backpack that is too heavy will cause a child to bend forward to support the weight.

What can you do?

  • Encourage your child to wear both straps.  It’s too often that children only use 1 strap which will cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side and cause spinal misalignment and muscle spasms.
  • The bottom of a backpack should never hang more than 4″ below the waistline.
  • Get a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and back.  This will keep it from digging into your child’s shoulders.
  • Make sure the shoulder straps and waist have adjustable straps to adjust to their bodies and distribute the weight more evenly across your child’s back.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps to position the contents more effectively
  • Make sure the backpack is not too big.  The more room there is in the backpack, the more likely your child will fill it up.  The extra space also causes the contents inside to move around more.

If you or your child has been using a backpack improperly or has discomfort in your neck, back, or shoulders, call to make an appointment.  There is not always pain when you have a spinal misalignment, so now is the time to get you and your child’s spine checked!  If you have any questions regarding the proper use of backpacks, feel free to call or make an appointment.

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