When Your Kid’s Backpack Weighs More Than…Them
The backpacks that appeal to kids typically aren’t the same ones that your orthopaedic surgeon would suggest. While browsing their book-hauling options, kids aren’t usually looking for extra padding and support. Unfortunately, it could lead to chronic back and should pain.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) surveyed orthopedists about back problems related to backpacks, and they found staggering numbers. Muscle fatigue and strain were at the top of list, especially if the contents of the backpack added up to more than 20% of their body weight.
With younger children having more and more homework, they are usually hauling every single book each day. It gets hard to carry that kind of weight.
Luckily, we have some recommended tips;
- Use both of the backpack straps, firmly tightened, holding the pack at least two inches above your waist.
- Shopping tip: Look for backpack straps that are extra wide with lots of padding! Also, look for one that has padding on the back as well!
- Tighten the straps so that the top is just below the base of the head. When packs are carried low on the back, it weighs down the spine.
- Use the correct lifting techniques, bend with both knees!
- Place the heaviest items closest to your back.
- Try to make frequent locker trips between classes to replace books!
If you want to make sure your child’s backpack is spinal-safe, come by the Midtown Farmers’ Market tomorrow! Members of our Acute Rehab team will be there doing a backpack check! Have your child bring their “typical load” backpack.