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