Kids have a lot to carry to school. The weight of notebooks, books, lunches, and projects can add up to a heavy load for today’s students. And that weight can be tough on growing bodies, causing shoulder, back, and neck pain even in young children.
Choose a great backpack to lessen the load for your kids—or yourself. Look for these features to choose the best backpack:
Lightweight Materials Make a Lighter Backpack
Start by choosing lightweight materials. The best backpacks are super light, without leather trim or heavy decoration. And they’re still very sturdy!
Get the Smallest Backpack that Will Serve Your needs
Especially for smaller kids, the smaller backpack, the better. It’s tempting to overfill a large backpack with unnecessary items.
Put Backpack Padding Where It Counts
Shoulder straps should be wide with plenty of padding. Padding in the back helps too, and a strap around the waist is a great feature to shift some of the weight from the shoulders.
Test Multiple Backpacks for the Perfect Fit
Take your child shopping to try on backpacks and get a good fit. Look for a backpack that rides high on the back and waist—not one that sags, leading to shoulder and back fatigue. When the straps are tightened, the backpack should fit close to your child’s body and not sway when he walks.
Compartments Spread a Backpack’s Weight Around
All those little compartments are useful for keeping items like pens and calculators at hand, but they also serve to distribute weight. That makes the backpack more comfortable and balanced.
Skip the Rolling Backpack
Rolling backpacks do lighten the load, but they have their own problems. Kids must turn to one side to drag the rolling pack, causing strain on the back, neck, and shoulders. And many schools don’t allow these packs.
Use your Backpack Correctly, Too
Students who carry too much weight are prone to back, shoulder, neck, and posture problems. That’s hard on a growing body!
Use Both Backpack Straps
It’s tempting for kids to use one strap, but carrying weight on one side of the body is a recipe for shoulder strain.
Pack Light for Comfort
- Put your child’s loaded backpack on a scale. Kids shouldn’t carry more than 20% of their own weight in their backpack. If yours is too heavy, find ways to lighten the load:
- Clean the backpack out often. Kids often need help establishing routine of emptying out old papers, books, etc.
- Remind kids to keep some books in their locker—don’t carry everything around all day.
Check Posture with the Backpack On
If your child is struggling to get her backpack on, it’s probably too heavy. When the loaded pack is on, your child should stand straight without leaning forward, and it shouldn’t leave red marks on her shoulders. Headaches or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back is a sign that something is wrong.
Carry Extra Items Separately
If the backpack is just too heavy when full, pack some items separately. A lunchbox or band instrument can be carried by hand. Water bottles can be carried empty and filled at school.
King Chiropractic can check students for any discomfort caused by heavy backpacks. If your child has headaches or neck, shoulder, or back pain, call King Chiropractic today at (910) 777-7228. We can help with pain relief, help restore range of motion, and get your child back on the bus with a smile!