Back to School Backpack Safety Tips

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou Aug 11, 2014

Doesn’t it seem like yesterday the kids were singing “School’s out for summer”? With the end of the summer approaching it can only mean one thing, back to school time. Kids are anxiously awaiting to see what classrooms they have and what friends will be with them. They are constantly growing so new clothes and shoes from shoe hero are always needed, lists of school supplies required are mailed to the house, and of course the ever so important backpack is a must have.

No matter what age you are or how strong you are, carrying a heavy backpack can lead to some pretty serious issues. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 7,300 backpack-related injuries annually treated by hospitals and doctors. Injuries include bruises, sprains and strains to the back and shoulder and in some instances, stress fractures to the back and ribs. With that being said, the staff at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine wants to protect your child’s back so we decide to put together a few safety tips to follow when it comes to backpacks.

  • Choose a backpack that has two thick straps to help evenly distribute weight on the shoulders.
  • A backpack should never be heavier than 15% of your child’s body weight. Take the scale out and see just how heavy the backpack is with everything in it. If it is over the limit see if you can remove some nonessential items. If it is still too heavy, talk to the child’s teacher to see if they extra books you can keep at home so they don’t have to worry about carrying books back and forth.
  • An adult backpack is made for an adult and will not properly fit a child. The bottom of the backpack should be about two inches above your child’s waist and should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • Make sure your child wears both straps. It may be “cool” to just wear one but by wearing only one strap, a backpack on one shoulder can cause muscle strain and imbalance.

If you find that your child is complaining of back pain or discomfort, contact us for an appointment. We offer treatment options including chiropractic and physical therapy. Both treatment options work together to develop exercises to increase strength, improve posture, and treat pain. From all of us at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, have a happy, safe, and healthy school year!