Backpacks for school children: avoid back pain

We know that backpacks are a great way for schoolchildren to carry their books and stationery but the design of the bag and, crucially, how your child carries a bag can make a big difference in preventing back pain. In short, the best way for kids to wear a backpack is to:

Pack It Light, Wear It Right!

Children have a tendency to sling their backpacks on one shoulder, which defeats the point of a bag with two straps, as the load is significantly weighted on one side of the body, pulling the shoulder down and putting pressure on the neck Here are some helpful tips that will help your child carry their backpack with ease.

Also, carrying too heavy a load can lead to poor posture and a distorted spinal column. Over time this can cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage. A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back.

Prevention Is Key:

  • Choose the right backpack
    Select a lightweight backpack in vinyl or canvas. Pick a backpack with two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, and padded back.Try the backpack for fit and comfort – ensure it’s not too snug around the shoulders and armpits, and that it’s proportionate to the wearer’s body type.
  • Packing it properly
    Your child’s backpack should only contain what is needed for that day. A full backpack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight. Place the heaviest objects close to the body and light or odd-shaped objects away from the back.
  • Putting the backpack on
    Place the backpack on a flat surface and slip on the backpack one shoulder at a time, adjust the straps to fit comfortably.When lifting the backpack, use both arms and legs and bend at the knees – give young children a hand.
  • Wearing a backpack
    Backpacks should never be worn over only one shoulder – this can result in neck, shoulder and back pain.
    Both shoulder straps should be used and adjusted so the backpack sits flush against the back.Test the fit of the backpack by sliding your hand between the backpack and your child’s back – if you can’t slide your hand in, the backpack is too snug.