Backpacks are a necessary item for carrying books to and from school each day. And when used correctly, they distribute weight to the strongest muscles of the body in the most practical way possible. But if a child is carrying the wrong backpack or isn't wearing it correctly, it can lead to serious back problems.
In fact, young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than in previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a significant contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Kids today are carrying more weight than ever in their backpacks -- often slung over just one shoulder. A recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman.
Read on to find out what you can do to minimize the stress on your child's back.
Start by purchasing the backpack that will distribute the weight most efficiently. Remember -- bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry, and the heavier the backpack will be. Look for these characteristics when choosing a backpack:
While it may look cool to wear a backpack on one shoulder, it can potentially be very damaging to a child's back. Make sure your child follows these guidelines when putting on her backpack.
Encourage your child to talk to you about any back pain they might be feeling. If your child expresses any discomfort as a result of carrying a backpack:
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Chiropractic Association
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.