Backpack Safety For Kids
Is Your Backpack Making the Grade?
Most kids carry backpacks daily throughout the school year. That means it’s essential to pay attention to how they wear them. Wearing it the wrong way or being heavier than it should can lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain, poor posture, and dangerous trips and falls.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, backpack-related injuries send an estimated 5,000 children a year to emergency rooms. More than 14,000 children are treated annually for injuries.
Carrying a heavy backpack is bad enough, but if a child also suffers from scoliosis, a stress fracture or muscle strain, the weight can aggravate the condition or delay recovery,
To promote backpack safety awareness, the physical therapists at Wellspring Health Center are providing Free Virtual Backpack Safety Screenings which are conveniently done at home using a free App on your smartphone!
Backpack Safety Tips
You can also follow these three backpack safety tips recommended by Wellspring Health Center and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA):
1. Wear both shoulder straps.
The use of only one strap causes one side of the body to bear the weight of the backpack. By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed across the shoulders. The straps should also be wide and padded across the shoulders rather than narrow.
2. Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles.
Pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and allow free movement of the arms.
Adjust the shoulder and waist straps so that the pack fits comfortably. To ensure a proper fit, make sure the backpack does not extend above your child’s shoulders, or below the low back.
3. Lighten the load
Keep the load at 10% or less of the child’s body weight. Heavy backpacks can cause dangerous falls, back and shoulder injuries or pain, headaches, and spinal damage! Carry only those items that are required for the day and organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back. Multiple pockets help distribute the weight better as well.
Find out about technological solutions – perhaps a laptop can replace several textbooks, or maybe there are online resources your child can use. Use lightweight zippered pouches to store lunch or small items like pencils rather than bulkier storage solutions. If no alternatives are available, help your child plan ahead to carry less weight at one time in their backpack.
Warning signs that the backpack is too heavy or poorly fitted include:
-Difficulty when putting on or taking off the backpack
-Unusual walking pattern while wearing the backpack
-Pain or headaches during or after wearing the backpack
-Tingling or numbness in the arms or legs
-Red strap marks over the anterior part of the shoulders
-Any change in posture while wearing the backpack (tilting side to side or leaning forward)
How a Physical Therapist Can Help:
Wellspring physical therapists have specialized training in correcting posture problems, muscle imbalances, and pain that can result from improper backpack use in kids.
Located in Eden Prairie, MN, what sets us apart from traditional pain centers is our revolutionary treatment options. No surgeries, no medications. Just results.
In these stressful times, people are searching for relief from back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and more. We hope to be your first choice. If you’d like to restore pain-free movement naturally and increase your quality of life, we encourage you to request a free consultation today.
We offer the following free community services for kids (elementary through college age):
–Free Virtual Backpack Screening
–Free Pain or Posture Screening