Just because your child carries a heavy load academically doesn't mean he should carry a heavy load on his back!Most school-aged children tote backpacks as the preferred means to transport their books and supplies. Chiropractors around the country are seeing younger and younger practice members complaining of back and shoulder pain. Could there be a connection?
Backpack Safety International™, an educational program that promotes and delivers guidelines for safe backpack use to administrators, teachers, parents and children, advocates the following four steps to ensure safe backpack use:
- Choose right - the backpack should fit between the child's shoulder blades and not hang below the waist.
- Pack right - The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should never exceed 10 to 15 percent of your child's body weight, so pack wisely.
- Lift right - Face the backpack, bend at the knees, lift the backpack with the legs and apply one shoulder strap and then the other.
- Wear right use both shoulder straps and make them snug, but not too tight. Use the waist strap, if available.
Increased awareness and education on this issue seems to be paying off. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that the number of emergency room visits related to backpack injuries is down from 7,860 to 7,649 over a one-year period. Previously, the number of cases had risen significantly each year. Increased awareness of this issue may actually be paying off!