Did you know that backpacks accounted for 28,000 doctor office and emergency room visits in 2010? How can a backpack cause so many problems? Choosing the right backpack is extremely important. Poorly fitting backpacks may lead to strains and pinched nerves. They can cause dislocations and fractures during falls. Furthermore, poorly fitting backpacks promote poor posture, which may negatively affect concentration, learning, immunity, or even athletic performance. With backpacks being one of the top three items on almost all back-to-school shopping lists, it is important to know how to select the right backpack.
While backpacks can be an extension of your child’s personal taste, the selection of a backpack should never compromise safety for fashion. Here is a checklist of features that should be available when choosing the right backpack:
- Wide, padded shoulder straps. Wide, padded straps distribute the backpack’s weight along the shoulders.
- Padded back. A padded back improves comfort and protects the child from being poked by contents within the backpack (i.e. rulers, pencils, etc).
- Waist strap. Waist straps reduce the stress that is placed upon the shoulders by the shoulder straps.
- Multiple compartments. Multiple compartments help balance the load evenly within the backpack.
- Size. The backpack should never be longer or wider than the wearer’s torso.
After selecting a backpack with the proper features, it is even more important to use the backpack properly. To prevent injury, here are some tips for how to properly wear a backpack.
- Loading a backpack. A backpack should carry no more than 10% the weight of the person carrying the backpack. Therefore, the weight of a backpack worn by a 100 lb. child should not exceed 10 lbs.
- Wear all the straps. Wearing all the straps will prevent excessive stress from being exerted on one area of the body.
- Positioning the backpack. The bottom of the backpack should be no lower than four inches below the waistline.
Back-to-school is a period of excitement and anticipation for the upcoming school year. If you have any questions regarding backpacks, choosing the right backpack, your child’s posture, or their health feel free to schedule a consultation in our office. Please call 604-255-8123 to schedule your child’s appointment today.