As you or your children may already have backpacks, we will focus on how to use them safely. We see more and more spinal challenges every day, from long-term postural stress that can come from improperly used backpacks.
The following safety tips can help minimize injury and postural stress:
- The top of the backpack should be in line with the top of the shoulders when worn.
- Carry only the items you need for the day ahead. Store extra items in a locker or desk.
- Evenly distribute weight throughout pockets and compartments.
- Pack heavy items in the part of the backpack that is closest to your body.
- The total weight of the packed bag should not exceed 10 percent of your child’s body weight, or 15 percent of your body weight for an adult’s backpack.
- Put your backpack on one strap at a time from a chair or table.
- Adjust both straps so that the backpack fits snuggly. Wear both straps to evenly distribute weight on your spine.
- Stand up straight and don’t slouch when wearing your backpack. If your pack is too heavy, lighten your load.
Share with your children the proper use of backpacks and help them understand why this and other ergonomic postural issues are important. A child who learns this early in life can apply this knowledge later in life, for longterm spinal wellness.
If you have any concerns about you or your children’s posture, and spinal health, take a moment to schedule an appointment in our centre.
Source: Pack it Light, Wear it Right, Ontario Chiropractic Association