Kids and Backpacks

lolipop-225x300_mediumA pain in the backpack.

As your kids prepare for their march back to school, take a second to consider the following:

One recent study identified that over half of children carried loads heavier than recommended (>15% of body weight; American Physical Therapy Association). The same study found that 1/3 of these children reported significant back pain requiring treatment or time away from activities or school.

If you see any of the following, your child’s backpack may be too heavy:

  • Their posture changes when wearing the backpack
  • They struggle when putting on or taking off the backpack
  • They report pain, tingling or numbness when wearing the backpack
  • The pack is more than 15% of their body weight (recommended maximum)

Before they head out the door, do the following five-point check:

  1. Are they wearing both straps?
  2. Does the backpack rest over the middle of the back? (not slouching below their hips)
  3. Can the child put on and take off the backpack without difficulty?
  4. Is there anything in the bag they don’t need to be carrying?
  5. Are the heaviest items toward the bottom of the pack and closest to their low back?