By Jillesa Anderson
Aug 24, 2016
Wearing a backpack incorrectly or carrying one that's too heavy can quickly lead to discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness, and musculoskeletal pain, especially in the lower back. It can also cause shoulder pain, as well as poor posture. To help prevent this, let’s cover some tips on backpack safety for you and your children.
Understanding how the back works can help you see things a little more clearly. The spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as natural shock absorbers. When a heavy backpack is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull you backward. To compensate, you may bend forward at the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. The heavy weight may quickly lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain.
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TIP: Load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back and balance materials so the child can easily stand up straight.
While it's common these days to see kids carrying around as much as a quarter of their body weight, it's recommended that a backpack weigh no more than 10-15 percent of their total weight. An easy way to reduce the weight in the backpack is help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it's not essential, leave it at home.