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Is Your Child's Heavy Backpack Negatively Impacting Their Health?

Is Your Childs Backpack To Heavy?

As the new school season begins, children all over the country will start their daily ritual of hauling bags to and from school. But school kids are not the only people bearing heavy loads daily. Commuters, workers, fitness enthusiasts and others are also carrying heavy bags. The problem is that heavy bags can wreak havoc on the posture and cause neck and lower back pain.

According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, your child's bag shouldn’t bear a load that's more than 20 percent of his/her weight, with 10 percent being the ideal weight. That means the ideal weight a 50-pound child should carry should be 5 pounds and it shouldn’t exceed 10 pounds. Check out the weight on your bathroom scale to be sure.

To make sure your kids are not bearing more weight than their body can support here are some ideas to help lighten up their school bags.

Buy the Right Backpack

 It all starts with your choice of bag. When shopping for a backpack for your child, go for a bag with a lightweight and ergonomic construction. Here are a few tips that will help you choose a great bag:

Don’t buy leather: The material of the bag takes a large chunk of the weight. Look for high-quality, durable materials such as ripstop nylon backpacks. You can check out selections from shops selling outdoor gear. On the other hand, leather can be highly durable, but it’s also heavier and absorbent.

Buy the smallest size possible: Buy a backpack that's big enough to keep all the essentials, but which doesn’t provide extra space. Extra space encourages your kid to stuff unnecessary things into the bag, which adds to the weight.

Buy bags with two straps: A one-strapped bag is a poor weight distributor that can impair your child's posture. Instead, buy a bag with two straps as it evenly distributes weight.

Buy a Bag with Compartments: Bags with plenty of compartments offer more organization options which help to reduce weight. Rather than keep a large water bottle at the bottom of the bag, you can store your child's water in an exterior mesh pocket where it’s always within easy reach.

Pack Lunch separately: The lunchbox can add a considerable amount of weight to the bag. You can reduce the weight by packing the lunchbox separately to reduce the amount of load going into the bag.

Pack laptops and band instruments in a separate bag with a handle as they may find it easier to carry. It keeps the load off their back and creates balance.

Find Creative Ways to Reduce Backpack Weight

You can speak with your child about the necessary things he needs to use at school. Many kids don’t need all the books they carry to school, but only keep everything in their bag out of habit.

You can also download some learning materials to a Kindle or an iPad, so your child won’t have to carry the physical textbook back home every day.

Scan or copy chapters of the learning materials at the start of the semester for home use, so your kid doesn’t have to bring them back home.

Buy a used copy of a textbook for home use, eliminating the need to haul the textbooks to and from school every day. You can get most textbooks at giveaway prices on Amazon and homeschooling sites.

Encourage your child to keep some of their books in their lockers whenever possible instead of carrying the whole bag throughout the day.

Let your kid take an empty or half-full water bottle to school and fill it up when he gets to school, rather than carry a heavy water bottle in his backpack.

Clean out the bag regularly. Your child might be the collector type who keeps every junk that fascinates them in their backpack. Ensure that you check their bag regularly for unwanted materials as these can add to the weight.

You can also buy a used band instrument for your child if she is having trouble carrying it to school every time. Buy or rent one for home use, so she doesn’t have to haul it about clumsily every day.

Distribute the weight. Make sure to distribute the weight evenly when packing your kid's bag to prevent postural stress.

You know your kid's bag is too heavy if they struggle to put it on. And if you see red marks on the shoulders, aches in the neck, shoulders, or back, or general postural defects, then you need to do something about your child's school backpack ASAP.

So, if you think your child’s backpack it too heavy, you need to schedule a chiropractic assessment to see if your child’s backpack is having detrimental effects on their health.  The experienced and friendly chiropractors at Somerset Hills Chiropractic are happy to share more information about the health benefits of chiropractic adjustments and answer any questions you may have. To schedule an appointment, please call (908) 221-0808.

If you schedule this upcoming Wednesday September 19th your will receive a special discounted rate of $99 (Normal $260) and all proceeds will be donated to Heartworks non-profit located in Basking Ridge, NJ. 

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