Early morning alarms, pack lunches, backpacks...another school year has arrived! And with it, new folders, notebooks, and HEAVY BOOKS! I think eventually, students at most grade levels will be carrying laptops and tablets instead of books. But until then, backpack injuries will send around 7000 students a year to the ER, and many more their family doctors. Here are a few tips to keep your student's back healthy, and keep them hitting the books!
1) Don't carry more than 10% body weight. Packs become deceptively heavy. Weigh them regularly.
2) The pack shouldn't fall more than 4" below the waist. Most kids wear them too low.
3) Shoulder straps should be thick, padded and adjustable. Wear both at all times. Don't let your student only sling one strap over their shoulder.
4) Use a pack with individual copartments. This allows for better weight distribution.
5) Clean out the backpack periodically. This will prevent carrying unneccessary accumulated items.
I also encourage parents to talk to the school about keeping a second set of the heaviest books at home, so your student doesn't have to lug them back and forth. There may be an extra book rental fee, but you'll save yourself in chiropractic bills:) And don't hesitate to stop in with your student and their pack. I'm happy to take a look and make suggestions! Have a GREAT year!