With school back in session, it's likely you're repeatedly moving your child's backpack after he or she drops it at the door. If that's the case, does it feel like it contains 40 pounds of rocks? Maybe you've noticed your child struggling to put it on, bending forward while carrying it, or complaining of tingling or numbness. If you've been concerned about the effects that extra weight might have on your child's still-growing body, your instincts are spot on.
When a heavy backpack is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull a child backward and, to compensate, the child might bend forward at the hips or arch the back. This can make the spine compress unnaturally, leading to shoulder, neck, and back pain. Additionally, kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck.
While we wait for solutions like digital textbooks to become widespread, here are several things you can do to lighten your child's load:
What About Backpacks on Wheels? They are so common these days, they're almost cool. But, the ACA is not giving them a strong endorsement. Rolling backpacks should be used "cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack," the ACA website reads. Why? They clutter school corridors, replacing a potential back injury hazard with a tripping hazard.
Despite their potential problems, backpacks are great when used properly. Just remember: a roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it's not essential, leave it at home. Also, make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack. Most importantly, If your child has back pain or numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, please don't ignore the symptoms. Call us today...as always, we are here to help!