Backpack Safety to Prevent Back Injury
The improper use of a backpack is common among students in the United States. In 2014, the American Occupational Therapy Association reported that approximately 55 percent of backpack-wearing students wore a backpack that was too heavy; insinuating that 43 million students were at risk of developing poor posture and may be suffering from pain in their shoulders, back and neck. However, you can help your child to avoid having a back injury or needing spinal surgery by making sure that they practice backpack safety.
Avoid Heavy Backpacks
Overloading is one main way backpacks are improperly used. A rule of thumb to remember when using a backpack is that its size and weight should be proportional to the child rather than to the size or weight of the items they have to carry. Also, the items to be packed should include only what the child needs. Members of the North American Spine Society recommend that the backpack should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of the child’s weight.
Choose Backpacks Carefully
Backpacks are sold with accommodations that can make it easier for children to take the items they need from class to class. The traditionally styled backpack comes with two thickly padded straps as well as a waist strap that can aid in lumbar support. You can also use a backpack that comes with wheels and that can be rolled around instead of carried on the back. This may be ideal for backpack users who are already showing signs of back trouble or for children who may have carry loads that weigh more than 25 pounds.
The manner in which items are placed in a backpack can also add to the burden of wearing the pack on one’s back. The articles in the backpack should be organized to distribute the weight evenly. This means storing the heaviest items so that they are low and towards the center of the backpack, and closest to the user’s back, and using any small compartments to store loose, light-weight items.
Wear it Correctly
Although simply tossing a backpack over one shoulder may be a popular method of toting a backpack around, doing so can cause a child to constantly lean to one side, which can result in pain the back, neck and shoulders. Wearing a properly packed backpack in the correct manner can ensure that its weight is easier to carry.
The friendly staff at Capital City Neurosurgery would like to remind you about Random Acts of Kindness Week, which takes place on February 12-18, 2017. While you are taking the time to be kind to someone, be kind to yourself as well and contact our spine surgeon if you are experiencing back pain.