Even though technology has evolved over the years, kids are still going to need to haul books and other essentials back and forth between home and school. According to surgeons at a leading Los Angeles spine surgery center, choosing the right backpack and taking the time to show your kids how to pack it and carry it can reduce their risk of being sidelined by an unexpected back injury.
Avoid Rolling Backpacks
While it may seem like the perfect solution, a rolling backpack isn’t going to help your child if they have to lift it to go up and down school stairs. There’s a tendency to over-pack rolling backpacks due to the convenience of the wheels, so lifting one is going to mean a lot of extra weight.
Look for Wide, Padded Straps
Select a backpack that has two wider straps with some degree of padding so the weight is evenly distributed. Forget narrow straps or strings since nearly all the weight will be placed on your child’s back with these backpacks.
Try It Before You Buy It
Check to see if there’s enough support to prevent sagging when it’s loaded. A filled backpack should remain higher than the shoulders and above the waist. The straps should also be easy enough for your child to adjust themselves as necessary throughout their day.
Check for Compartments
Look for backpacks that divide the weight load with compartments on the sides or in the front. Some backpacks have two separate back and front sections inside, which can further distribute weight evenly.
Encourage Safe Backpack Use
Give your child a lesson in how to properly use and wear their new backpack, which should be about 10-15 percent of their body weight when full. Safe backpack use includes:
- Placing heavier items in first
- Using a separate bag or case for laptops or band instruments
- Maintaining good posture while wearing it
There were more than 5,000 backpack-related injuries in 2013 alone. Carrying heavy backpacks, even periodically throughout the day, can place added pressure on a growing spine. Wearing comfortable shoes and encouraging your kids to stay fit will also help children maintain spine health.
When it comes to back pain, it’s best to intervene as early as possible. If you or your family member is experiencing spinal pain that’s interfering with daily activity, it’s time to seek medical attention. Schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified spine surgeon by calling (310) 828-7757 today. We’re here to help.