Selecting the right backpack for your child By: Dr. Silvia Villani

It’s that time of year again! As summer comes to end, parents will be out shopping for their child’s school supplies and of course a backpack. Selecting the right backpack for your child is very important.

More than 50 % of children complain of back pain before their teenage years.

An overly-packed or improperly worn back pack may put your child at risk for developing an injury to the spine, joints, and muscles which can lead to poor posture, back pain, neck pain, headaches, muscle strain, and even nerve damage.

If your child begins to experience back pain, chiropractic care can help by preventing progression to further problems.

Here are some tips to help parents find the perfect backpack:

  1. The right material: Purchase a backpack made of lightweight material (vinyl or canvas). It should have two wide adjustable shoulder straps, a waist belt, several individual compartments, and a padded back.
  1. The right size: Make sure it is proportionate to the child’s body size. It should not exceed more than 10-15 % of their body weight.
  1. The right contents: Only pack what is needed for that day! Make sure contents are evenly distributed with heavy items close to the body.
  1. The right use: The backpack should be carried over both shoulders. The shoulder straps should be adjusted so that the backpack fits snugly to the body. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your child’s back. When putting it on, place the backpack on a flat surface at waist height. Slip on one shoulder at a time and lift with your arms & legs and bend at the knees.