A school backpack full of folders, pins and notebooks

You may think it’s to early too be stressing about bad posture and back pain for your child, but the opposite is actually true. By promoting good posture and preventing back injury and stress, you are helping your child avoid back pain in their later years.

Did you know backpacks could be causing:

  • Distortion to the natural curves in your child’s middle and lower back, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage.
  • Rounding in the shoulders.
  • A child to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall.
  • Forward head posture, which is one of the most common causes of neck, head and shoulder tension and pain.

In additional to providing you with our Backpack Fitting Guide, The Ashgrove Spinal Centre wanted to offer some advice on loading a backpack and backpack posture.

5 Steps to Loading a Child’s Backpack

  1. Be sure the backpack is appropriately packed. You don’t want your child to be carrying around more than necessary, so be sure to check with the teacher to see what your child needs to take to school, opposed to what can be left at home.
  2. Load the heaviest objects (usually text books) closer to the body.
  3. If the backpack has separate compartments, use them to ensure objects are packed securely and not free to move around the backpack.
  4. Once packed make sure the load is comfortable and safely stored. Check sharp or hard objects are packed in such a way they do not come in contact with the body.
  5. Try to keep the weight of the backpack appropriate for your child. Guidelines suggest the overall weight of backpacks should be between 10-15% of the child’s weight. It definitely should not exceed 20% of the child’s weight.

Check your child’s posture while they are wearing the backpack:

  1. While wearing the backpack, does the child look comfortable? You want to ensure the child can maintain a good posture when wearing the backpack before they leave for school.
  2. Can your child stand normally while wearing the backpack? Distortions to your child’s posture can indicate the backpack is inappropriately fitted or too heavy.
  3. Does the backpack cause your child to stand with an excessive curve in their lower back? If so, please go to our Backpack Fitting Guide, to make sure you have a backpack properly fitted for your child.
  4. Is your child slouching at the shoulders? If so, please go to our Backpack Fitting Guide, to make sure you have a backpack properly fitted for your child.
  5. Can your child wear the backpack and keep their head and neck in a neutral position, without excessive forward or backward tilting? If not, the load of the backpack may be to heavy for your child.
  6. Lastly, is your child wearing the backpack straps on both shoulders? Hanging a backpack off one shoulder produces poor posture and is linked to numerous future health issues.

In addition to finding the backpack fitting guide on our website, you can also find a Child & Adult Backpack Fitting Guide on The Ashgrove Spinal Centre Mobile App.

Summer Newsletter 2015

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