Despite the hot temperatures, it is hard to believe that summer is near an end and the kids are returning back to the classrooms. Despite your child’s age, the number one school supply is the ultimate backpack. There are many different options of backpacks that vary with different themes, styles, accessories, and so forth; however, the most important quality of a backpack is the safety. Nearly 5,000 annual emergency room visits are related to backpack injuries. On the other hand, most backpack related injuries are not emergencies; however, consistent overweight loads can lead to pain, and compensation to the neck, shoulders, upper back, low back and hip regions. Such heavy and consistent loads lead to not only musculoskeletal symptoms, but will also have a direct influence on the posture and structural development of children.
Back Pack Size
Not all backpacks are created equal. There are many sizes, materials used, and other factors to consider. To ensure proper size, search for a backpack designed for your child’s age, height, and weight. Backpacks made for children typically are made of lighter material and are smaller in size. The length of the backpack should be the length of the child’s torso, with the bottom being two inches below the waist. The overall backpack size will ensure proper fitting of the backpack on the child’s spine.
Overall Back Pack Weight
When in hunt for the perfect backpack, look for one that offers multiple compartments. A backpack with many compartments allows for equal distribution of items, in order to balance the load. Heavier items should be packed lower, towards the back, and closer to the body. The weight of the backpack should never exceed 15% of the child’s weight.
Fitting of Backpack
Having the perfect size backpack that has equal and proper weight would be of little value if the fitting of the backpack was improper. The backpack should be worn on both shoulders to ensure proper weight distribution. Preferably, a waist strap should be utilized to promote additional weight disruption. With minimal space between the spine and the backpack, proper fitting would be worn as close to the body.
For further information on backpack safety, check out the National Safety Council’s guide on backpack safety here http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/backpack-safety-for-kids.aspx. Any additional questions regarding backpack safety, or for a complimentary backpack safety check for your child, please contact Dr. Samaira at 404-355-5499.