The time to send your children Back-to-School is just around the corner. But before you do- here are some things you should consider:
As per the American Physical Therapy Association your child’s backpack should never exceed 10-15% of his or her body weight? In an average 12 year old child that is 10 lbs worth and that includes the backpack itself.
Unfortunately due to heavy homework loads and nearly non-existent lockers, the average child carries 22-27% of their body weight in their backpack.
This extra weight creates unnecessary strain on a child’s spine aggravating an already scoliotic spine. A heavy back pack can pull a child backwards making him or her overcompensate by bending forward or arching their backs, in turn further compressing the spine.
If your child prefers the “over one shoulder sling” he or she may lean far to the one side to offset the weight of the heavy backpack. Overtime, repeated use will lead to increased strain on their posture, muscle strain and pain in the back neck and shoulder areas.
The following are signs that indicate your child’s backpack is too heavy:
- Change in posture?
- Signs of struggle while putting on or taking off the backpack
- Complaining of pain from wearing the backpack
- Red marks on the shoulder area from wearing the backpack
- Complaints of numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
Before you shop these guidelines can lead you to a better backpack option for your child:
- Purchase a backpack that’s durable yet lightweight- many backpacks, although quite fashionable, may be made of unnecessarily heavy construction
- Look for a backpack that has two wide padded shoulder straps
- A backpack with a waist strap helps the weight distribute more evenly
- A padded back can make the load more comfortable while protecting from sharp objects poking out the back
- Multiple compartments help the weight distribute more evenly
- Rolling backpacks are ideal provided there is no need for rolling across uneven terrain or climbing stairs
- When packing your child’s backpack- pack the heavier items towards the back and evenly distribute smaller items in compartments
- Weigh your child’s backpack- make sure it doesn’t exceed 10-15% of his or her body weight
- Adjust the straps to fit tight against the body
Now you’re ready to send your child safely off to school! Always encourage your child to tell you about any discomfort concerning his backpack and pay attention to any symptoms he or she may be experiencing.
Remember- A heavy backpack does not cause Scoliosis but may disguise a spinal curve in it’s initial stages. Scoliosis first shows up between the ages of 9-15 so make sure your child is screened on a regular basis.
For more information, contact us at South Florida Scoliosis Center 305-705-0777, or visit www.southfloridascoliosiscenter.com.
South Florida Scoliosis Center is the only CLEAR Scoliosis Treatment Center in the South Florida area in addition to being one in only 18 worldwide clinics to offer Intensive Care Scoliosis Treatment.
South Florida Scoliosis Center draws patients from the entire state as well as from countries abroad.