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10 Backpack Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know For Their School-Aged Child

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Chiropractor In Maple, Vaughan Discusses Essential Backpack Safety Awareness Tips

Image courtesy of Stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Back in the day when I was in grade school (we ‘re talking about the 80’s) kids didn’t carry or use backpacks. It wasn’t the norm as it is today and so it didn’t pose a common risk to the backs and spines of school-aged children. The most we carried to school was a lunch box and one or two books. Today, I see children with backpacks that are filled to the max and super heavy for their petite body size.

 

 

 

 

Here are 10 essential backpack safety awareness tips that every parent should know:

  1. Avoid choosing a backpack for the fashionable look. Backpacks are needed for their functionality and not for their looks. Choose a good backpack for your child that has evenly distributed compartments, a padded back side and padded shoulder straps.
  2. The backpack size should be proportional to your child body size. A common mistake I see is that the child is carrying a backpack that is too big for them. The danger is that the backpack gets overloaded and heavy.
  3. The weight of the backpack should be 10% of the child body weight. So, an 60 lb child should be carrying a backpack that is 6 lbs. A 60 lb child should NOT be carrying a backpack that is 15 lbs for example. To an adult that may not seem too heavy, but it represents 25% of the child’s body weight (in this example). Imagine an adult with a body weight of 180 lbs carrying a weight on their back that is 25% of their body weight. That equals 45 lbs of weight. I don’t think you would find that appealing nor comforting. The same goes for a child. In fact, a heavy backpack places a tremendous amount of load on the child’s spine which can lead to strains.
  4. All heavy books (like text books) should be stored in the backside of the backpack, closest to the child’s back. Lighter books and items should be stored in the front of the backpack. This allows the heavier items to be closer to the child’s center of mass when standing and walking thereby minimizing strain on their back and neck.
  5. Use the side pockets and compartments evenly. These compartments should be used to store smaller items like water bottles, pencil cases etc.
  6. Teach your child to wear BOTH shoulder straps. This gets the weight of the backpack evenly distributed throughout the child’s body and prevents overloading to one side of the shoulder.
  7. The backpack should never hang low on the child’s back. This will cause slouching and a poor posture to develop. Show your child how to tighten the backpack so it rests right up on the child’s back by tugging on the pull straps located on the shoulder straps.
  8. Leave non-essential items at home, like handheld gaming devices etc. Items that are not essential for schooling needs will increase the weight and bulkiness of the backpack.
  9. Binders add more bulk to the backpack. Minimize the number of binders used and consolidate homework sheets into one smaller folder or binder.
  10. Lunches can add weight and bulk to the backpack. Consider a light reusable lunch bag and have the child carry it by hand to avoid added load to the back.

Parents, by following these 10 backpack safety tips, you can help minimized the weight and load of the child’s backpack and prevent strain and poor posture from developing. 

 

Related Articles By Dr. Walter Salubro

Backpack Safety For School Children: What Parents Need To Know

Chiropractic Advice For Backpack Safety

September Is Backpack Safety Awareness Month At Back To Health Chiropractic Centre

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Dr. Walter Salubro_1Dr. Walter Salubro is a family wellness chiropractor who has been serving the Maple and Vaughan community for over 13 years.
Dr. Salubro provides chiropractic care to people all age groups. He has completed many post-graduate courses in techniques applicable to both children and adults. In addition to offering specific spinal adjustments and posture corrective techniques,
Dr. Salubro offers an extensive line-up of health and wellness workshops, exercise classes and a run-walk club to his patients.

Dr. Salubro is a fitness enthusiast and an avid runner, having completed four half-marathons, a 30k road race and three marathons. Whether it is in his day-to-day interactions with his patients or through one of his health classes, Dr. Salubro motivates people to be the best they can be, the healthiest they can be and the happiest they can be so they can fulfill the life of their vision and dreams.

Dr. Walter Salubro is dedicated to providing the highest quality chiropractic care for all of his patients. He is a 1999 graduate of the National College of Chiropractic and certified from the Academy of Chiropractic Family Practice and the Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (C.A.C.C.P.). Dr. Walter Salubro is Webster Technique Certified, certified and recognized by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. Salubro caters to the specialized care of infants and pregnant mothers.

Backpack Safety For School Children: What Parents Need To Know

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Backpack Safety Tips From Back To Health Chiropractic Centre In Maple, Vaughan.

Maple, ON – Yes, it’s back-to-school time, which makes for a perfect time to talk about backpack safety for kids. Years back when I was in grade school, I don’t recall carrying many books home and certainly never had on overloaded backpack. Today, it seems that backpacks are stuffed with huge binders, textbooks and many other bulky items such as shoes, lunches, pencil cases and electronic devices.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will know what is the impact of your child’s health due to heavy, overloaded backpacks.  You will also be given some key tips to making backpack use more safe for your child so strain and prolonged injury can be prevented.  First, let me put backpack weight in perspective when it comes to carrying backpacks. 

 One day, a child with a backpack came into the chiropractic office. The child weighed about 60 pounds and was carrying a backpack that weighed about 20 pounds.  When the father was told by the chiropractor that his son’s backpack was way too heavy for his child, the father responded, “But it’s only 20 pounds.” 

Now, the father was a 180 pound man, so 20 pounds seemed relatively light to him.  When the father was told, “That 20 pounds for your son  is one third (33%) of his body weight. That would be like you carrying a 60 pound backpack on your back. How would you like to carry 60 pounds on your back?” The father’s answer was obvious, “No way!”.

Backpack Safety Awareness Week At Back To Health Chiropractic Centre September 10-14, 2012

Sometimes we lose perspective on a situation and seems like it’s not big deal.  But when you begin to see the big picture, you will see that it is a big deal.  Heavy backpacks for children can be detrimental, can cause postural distortions and even onset of symptoms.

One study showed that when backpacks weigh 15% or more of the the child’s body weight, it will cause compensating postural changes, such as shifting the head forward.  Even more, at 15% and 20% of the child’s body weight, a backpack will begin to cause discomfort after walking, primarily in the neck region.1

Over time, the continued use of heavy, overloaded backpacks can cause serious postural problems in children even before they get into highschool and college, when the backpacks become even more heavy.

10 Tips To Make Backpack Use In Children Safer

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Chiropractic Advice For Backpack Safety

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Our chiropractic clinic was at a local retail business  in Vaughan Sunday offering backpack safety tips for students and parents.   The one common thing I notice with most of the children and teens that we see at our clinic is they carry a backpack that is way too heavy for their growing spines.  I remember when I was going through school, the first time I used a backpack was in grade 9.  Today, even the grade school children are sent home with backpacks filled bulky binders and heavy textbooks.

Not only is weight a concern, but how the backpacks are worn concerns me.  Especially, with the high school students. Their backpacks are overloaded, usually carried by one strap over one shoulder, and if both straps are used, they are so loose that the backpack is practically hanging down by their lower back or waist area.  This puts extra weight on the spine that can lead to pain or serious back or health problems.

According to a study published in the journal Spine, increasing the weight of backpacks can:  1. Significantly compress the discs of the low back, 2. Increase spinal curvature, and 3. Significantly increase low back pain in children.*1

In the month of September, when kids get back to school, our clinic is holding a Backpack Safety Awareness Week (September 7-16) for our practice members.  The focus is to teach children, teens and parents the proper ways to choose, carry and load backpacks so they reduce unnecessary loads and stress on the back and prevent strain, pain or serious health problems.

Next time you visit your family chiropractor, ask him or her about backpack safety for your children.

Back To Health Chiropractic Centre is a children-friendly wellness clinic. Located in Vaughan, in the hamlet of Maple, we serve families with children and infants of all ages.

Here are some tips that our chiropractic clinic will be sharing during Backpack Safety Awareness Week  …

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