Every school year, an essential must have is a new backpack in the newest style or design. But some designs may be causing your child harm due to uneven weight distribution and may even lead to back or neck pain. A new study shows that because children are less active than they have been in decades past, their muscles are not as developed and cannot support the weight of heavy backpacks without strain. The amount of time the child is wearing a backpack and their posture also lends to back and neck strain.
It’s important to choose the right bag for your child. Make sure the bag is the appropriate size and has a double shoulder strap. A single should strap or crossover bag makes the weight of the bag disproportionate and puts added stress on one side of your child’s body causing them to overcompensate. Most backpacks have an additional chest and waist strap for added support. These straps should be fastened tightly but comfortably. When your child is packing their bag, teach them to put the heaviest items, such as textbooks, in the back of the bag closest to their back for proper weight distribution. As your child gets older and is required to carry more and more books this is especially important.
If your child is complaining of neck or back pain, checking their backpack size, support, weight and how it fits is a great place to start.