If we aren't picking the right backpacks for our children, and furthermore if they're not being used correctly, it can lead to common problems such as neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. All of these issues, by way of the nervous system, affect academic and athletic performance.
Set your child up for success this school year by picking the right backpack for them, and making sure they are using it correctly!
FINDING THE RIGHT BAG:
WIDE, PADDED SHOULDER STRAPS,
AS WELL AS A PADDED BACK
Non-padded shoulder straps will dig into the shoulders, causing a great deal of discomfort. Padding on the part of the backpack that touches the back will ease pressure off of the spine.
Straps that can be adjusted will allow your child to fit the straps properly, according to their height and how the backpack is falling below their waist (see more on why below!).
BAG NOT MUCH WIDER OR LONGER THAN YOUR CHILD'S TORSO
Bigger is not always better when it comes to backpacks. The larger a backpack, the greater our tendency to overpack them, causing them to weigh more than that recommended weight.
Having multiple pockets allows for us to pack the backpack properly.
Having a chest clip helps to stabilize the backpack to our torso, which helps to keep us upright while carrying it.
HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY:
THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG SHOULD HANG NO LOWER THAN 4" BELOW YOUR CHILD'S WAIST LINE
A bag hanging too low, along with being too heavy, causes us to compensate for the backward-pulling weight by hunching and rounding our shoulders forward. This only exacerbates the already problematic situation that Tech Neck causes!
THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF YOUR CHILD'S BACKPACK SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN 10% OF THEIR BODY WEIGHT
Excessive backpack weight often causes poor posture, which can further aggravate problems like neck, back, and shoulder pain, along with headaches.
YOUR CHILD SHOULD WEAR STRAPS OVER BOTH SHOULDERS
Using only one shoulder strap causes us to bear uneven weight on our shoulders. It is common to see one shoulder higher than the other, as the child compensates and their muscles become stronger and tighter on one side over the other. This can create many problems.
PACK THE HEAVIEST ITEMS CLOSEST TO YOUR CHILD'S BACK
Heavy items on the outside of the backpack can further pull that backpack weight down, back, and away from your child's core, causing them to compensate by rounding and hunching their back and shoulders.
USE THE CHEST CLIP, IF YOUR CHILD'S BACKPACK HAS ONE
Using the chest clip helps to keep the weight of the backpack tight to their torso, increasing stability.