Many students in the Huntsville and Madison area are now heading back into the classroom. Have you noticed your child’s backpack? Does it feel like a 50-pound bag of rocks? Have you seen your child struggling to pick it up and put it on? Researchers and healthcare organizations have been growing more concerned about the effects of the extra weight on your child’s developing spine created by heavy backpacks.
Why it Matters:
It’s estimated that over 60% of children routinely carry backpacks that weigh more than 10% of their body weight. Some children were even found to be carrying a backpack nearly identical to their own body weight!
This is a big deal because researchers have found that carrying heavy backpacks increases the risk of back pain in children by a whopping 50%.
The good news? You’ve got their back!
- Ergonomics: Select an appropriately sized backpack. It shouldn’t be wider than their torso or sit more than 4 inches below their waist.
- Fit: Use both shoulder straps to balance the weight and ensure that the are snug so the backpack doesn’t hang low.
- Packing: Teach your child to place the heaviest items towards the bottom of the backpack and use all the compartments to distribute the load.
Most experts agree that a backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of the child’s body weight. Backpacks that are too heavy can lead to back or neck pain, as well as poor posture. If your child has developed poor posture or neck/back pain, let us know. We’d be happy to evaluate their posture and movement to correct any concerns before they become a problem.
Backpack Safety: It’s time to lighten the load. National Safety Council. 2020.