Back to School: Backpack SafetyAugust 27, 2014 • By Lauren Calabra
The school season is in full swing! By now, most parents, or kids, have already picked out their school supplies and their prized possession… their backpack.
The backpack is their definition of personal expression. Solid pink with key chains. Pictures of superheroes protecting the planet. Sparkling stars with neon stripes you can spot from the parent pick-up line!
To personalize a backpack even more, parents and children should acknowledge the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) recommendations for proper backpack mechanics.
Children are still growing. Their rate of growth can be easily influenced by their environments. A backpack can have the most influence on the development of the spine. To promote a healthy growth pattern and to prevent scoliosis related issues, the ACA has developed a checklist to reference when “personalizing” a backpack.
Here are a list of some of our favorite recommendations:
- Try to not carry more than 10% of your body weight in a backpack. Weight exceeding 10% of body weight can start to encourage negative growth patterns before maturation.
- To avoid extra weight, be sure to clean out backpacks daily or at least weekly.
- Make sure a backpack does not hang lower than 4 inches below the waistline. Keeping a backpack higher on the hips will disperse forces more evenly across the shoulders and encourage better posture.
- Use a backpack with adjustable straps so weight can be distributed evenly on both shoulders and through the back.
- Use both straps to carry a backpack!
Another population that utilizes backpacks are college students. They typically have more to carry and further journeys to pursue with a backpack. Similar rules apply: modify the weight of your backpack, utilize both shoulder straps (it is cooler to not have back problems than to sling only one strap around your shoulder for 4 years), and adjust the straps of the backpack when you take it on and off.
We hope these tips help you get a healthy start to the fall school session!
If you have further questions about how to properly utilize a backpack, purse, or sports bag to prevent injury or negative biomechanical influences, please let us know what questions you would like to have answered!