Give your child’s back a good pack!
As parents we naturally want to give our children the best start in life, physically, mentally, socially.
At Open Space approximately 30% of our clients are children and unfortunately we have seen a rise in the amount of items and weight they are expected to carry in their backpacks. This has directly contributed to dysfunction in their spine.
One very easy thing that parents can do is to ensure that the quality and fit of their child’s backpack is correct, as heavy, incorrectly fitted and badly packed school backpacks can lead to spinal health problems as a child grows.
Spinal health is crucial at any age, especially for children, and items like heavy backpacks may cause strain and discomfort to the spine. Spinal pain can be attributed to a number of factors, however we see on a daily basis heavy and incorrectly worn bags causing poor posture, slouching and uneven hips.
The relationship between spinal health and carrying a heavy backpack may also depend on additional aspects such as your child’s age and weight.
If you’re worried about your child’s backpack weight, here are our favourite lifestyle and backpack tips:
What to look for in a backpack:
- Make sure the backpack is the right size for your child, no wider than their chest and below the hollow of their back
- A moulded frame on the back, that when adjusted fits their spine.
- A bag made from a light weight material like canvas, with two padded straps
- Adjustable waist and sternum straps
- Separate compartments that allow for easy packing and weight distribution
How to carry the backpack in a spine safe way:
- Ensure that the weight of the backpack is no more than 10% of your child’s weight when packed. Only pack essentials to lessen the load, perhaps use school lockers if available.
- Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and make sure all zippers are done up all the way.
- Secure the sternum and waist straps (they’re there for a reason)
- Always wear both straps. Tell the kids it’s not cool to ‘one-strap it’ anymore.
- Reduce the time spent wearing the backpack to no more than 30 minutes at any one time.
- Investigate a trolley if that is an option for you
Another tip is to ensure your child is undertaking 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, as a part of correct spinal care.
If you’re looking for a backpack that ticks all the boxes above, the Australian Chiropractors Association together with Spartan School Supplies developed the ‘Chiropak’.
This durable, functional and comfortable backpack is designed to reduce the incidence and severity of neck and back pain associated with carrying heavy loads.
Find out more about the Spartan ‘Chiropak’ by visiting spartanss.com.au/collections/bags
We are offering parents to make an appointment at Open Space Healing for more advice and assistance on selecting the right backpack and making sure it is fitted correctly to suit your child’s current level of development.
Please give us a call on 08 9336 1180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment for your child!
For more information on maintaining a healthy spine, visit chiropractors.asn.au/backtoschool
And don’t forget to share this with any loved ones who you think might benefit from this!
Until next time…
Yours in great health,
Dr Andy & Dr Jacinta
Chen YL, Mu YC. Effects of backpack load and position on body strains in male schoolchildren while walking. PLoS One. 2018;13(3):e0193648. Published 2018 Mar 21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193648