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Denver Wellness Center Discusses Backpack Safety Tips

November 30, 2016

Are you concerned about how much your kids are carrying on their backs? Kids are often required to carry heavy textbooks, notebooks, and other school supplies in their backpacks, but this could lead to serious back pain later on in life. How can your kids protect themselves? The physical therapists at the Denver wellness center, Cherry Creek Wellness Center, offer these backpack safety tips for your kids:

Always wear both straps

Some kids think it’s cooler to only wear one strap of their backpacks, but this is a big mistake. Make sure your kids know to always wear both straps of the backpack to ensure the weight is evenly distributed across the body. Wearing only one strap will put too much pressure on one side and throw off the body’s alignment. You should also avoid buying backpacks designed with one strap across the chest for the same reason.
When you buy a backpack for your child, you should also make sure the straps are padded. Unpadded straps can dig into your child’s shoulders and cause discomfort, so these are not recommended.

Pack the backpack carefully

Peek inside your child’s backpack to ensure everything is safely in place. Take advantage of inside compartments that can hold smaller objects and prevent them from shuffling around as your child walks with the backpack. Also, be sure that any objects with sharp edges are positioned so they are not poking into your child’s back.

Weigh the backpack

Before your child heads out the door, grab his backpack and put it on a scale to see how much it weighs. A general rule of thumb is the backpack should never weigh more than 10% of your child’s body weight. The heavier the backpack, the more pressure your child will feel to lean forward to support the weight, which is not good for his posture and spine. Learn more about problems backpacks can pose.

See how low the backpack hangs

How low does your child’s backpack hang? The heavier the backpack, the lower it will hang unless you proactively adjust the backpack straps. To avoid back and shoulder pain, a child’s backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. Have your child try on his backpack in front of you so you can take a good look at how it hangs on his back. If it’s too low, have him take it off so you can adjust and recheck it until you hit the right height.

Teach kids how to lift their backpacks

Everyone should know how to lift heavy objects without hurting their backs—especially kids who have to lug around bulky backpacks all day. Make sure your kids understand to bend their knees, not their waist or back, as they lift their backpacks. This will ensure they don’t put pressure on their spine as they are lifting the backpack up from the ground.
At Cherry Creek Wellness Center, we’re devoted to helping our patients prevent injuries. Are you interested in learning more about our services?  Contact us today by calling 303-333-3493!