The fall school year is quickly approaching! This means different things to different people – maybe you are entering your second year at college or you are heading into your senior year in high school. To a student, back to school time can mean the end of another fun summer and getting back into habits of homework and studying. But to parents, back to school means you must say goodbye to your child every weekday. For many parents, this can be a rather scary or emotional send-off. The last thing you want to have to worry about is the stress their book load is creating on their growing bodies. We’re here today to talk about backpack safety!
For some children, the thought of brand new school supplies in August is exciting! Having the coolest or flashiest backpack on the bus can be a priority for a few! But as you start your back to school shopping, take into consideration the type of backpack you end up purchasing them.
Selecting the right backpack for your child can have a huge impact on their health and safety. They are still in a time of spinal development, and as we’ve talked about previously, daily postural habits can affect your health.
Back Pack Safety: The Risk of the Wrong Backpack
Backpacks have been around for generations. They are a practical way for us to carry books, clothes, etc. But students wear the same backpack day in and day out – something that can greatly affect their neck, shoulders, and back. Over time, this can result in:
- Muscle strain
- Distortion of natural curves in the back
- Irritation to the spine and ribs
- Disturbance in natural balance
- Rounding of the shoulders
- Chronic headaches
Also, the list of risks increases if your child tends to wear his or her backpack incorrectly. Wearing a backpack on one shoulder on a regular basis can cause terrible imbalances throughout their body that include:
- Joint dysfunction
- Joint restriction
- Back, neck, shoulder, and hip pain
Back Pack Safety: What to Shop For
We don’t want to tell you that you can’t buy your child the exact backpack he or she is begging for. We understand Wonder Woman is all the rage this summer, so why not let your daughter rock some girl power! But we have a few tips for you to keep in mind when making the final decision. Try to look for backpacks that have:
- Separate and individual compartments
- Padding at the part of the bag that rests against the back
- Hip straps or a waist belt. This will help redistribute weight evenly
- Wide, padded, and adjustable shoulder straps
Back Pack Safety: Wearing the Backpack Correctly
Like the saying goes: you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Even if you buy your child a fantastic backpack, if they do not wear it correctly, it can still have negative effects health on them.
However, college students and adults also wear backpacks. So, here are our tips on how to wear a backpack to avoid back pain regardless of your age:
- Always wear both shoulder straps – never carry your backpack on just one shoulder
- Clean out your backpack regularly to avoid carrying anything unnecessary
- Use your legs to lift your backpack, never your back
- Try to distribute weight evenly throughout the bag – therefore we recommend looking for a backpack with separate compartments
- Pack your heaviest objects at the bottom
- Adjust the straps so they fit you correctly
- If it feels too heavy, IT IS! Only carry what is totally necessary
As we wrap up, we hope you are now aware of the serious effects heavy backpacks can have on the body, but also that you feel more confident in shopping this back to school season. Backpacks have evolved over the past few years, and there are even some on rollers or ones that come with custom lumbar support. Check them out!