One of the most exciting parts of back to school shopping for children is picking out a new backpack. This item represents who they are for the entire school year, from favorite characters to fun patterns the choices are endless!
Unfortunately, over 2,000 students every year report back pain and head to an emergency room and 85% of students report pain in their neck, shoulders and back.
Here are some tips to reduce stress in those areas:
Factors to consider when selecting the right backpack:
- The top of the backpack should sit at the top of the shoulder blades
- The bottom should sit just above the hips
- The backpack should weigh up to 10-15% of the child weight
- For example: If the child weighs 120 lbs. the backpack should weigh 12-18lbs
Hip and/or chest straps
- To reduce tension on lower back and neck area
Padded shoulder straps
- Provide support across the shoulders and prevent pinching
- Benefit when both shoulder straps are worn to balance the load
- Are a good safety precaution for students catching a bus or crossing the street
- Make it easier to find and zip/unzip in a hurry
How to pack the backpack:
- Pack the heaviest items closest to the child’s back
- Ensure there are no sharp items
- Make packed items snug inside to balance the load
How to wear the backpack:
- Check with difficulty putting on and taking off; Practice wearing over a coat
- Monitor pain/tingling or redness while wearing backpack before heading back to school
If you think your child is in need of occupational, physical, or speech therapy, call us today to set up a FREE screening at 586-323-2957!
Written by: Anna Weir, COTA