While it may seem as though summer has just started, the truth of the matter is “back to school” time is creeping just around the corner. Many parents have already started the dreaded school shopping process in an attempt to find all of the necessary clothes, gear and supplies for the new academic year. Of course, no school shopping trip is complete without a new backpack either.
While the backpack may seem like one of the most common, and most used accessories for kids of all ages, many kids are actually using and wearing their backpacks incorrectly. If kids are not aware of proper backpack safety tips they can actually do a great deal of damage to their backs and necks and cause serious damage to their spines.
With this in mind as parents start to gear up for back to school time, it is important to be aware of some of the most essential backpack safety tips that can keep kids of all ages safe this school year.
Choose the Right Size Backpack.
One of the biggest issues regarding kids and backpacks is that many parents accidentally buy their child the wrong size bag. It can be tempting to invest in a large backpack that can therefore carry more school supplies and books, but big backpacks can actually do a great deal of harm to a developing child.
A backpack should never be longer or wider than the child’s torso. Fit your child for a backpack; if it hangs more than four inches below their waist, then it is too big. Oversized backpacks cause your child to lean forward when they walk and put a great deal of stress on the shoulders.
Find Bags With Compartments.
The right backpack will have several compartments inside. This not only helps your child stay more organized but it will ensure that the weight within the bag is distributed evenly. This will prevent the bag from causing stress on certain areas of the back and decrease your child’s risk for developing poor posture.
When helping your child pack their bag, make sure that you pack the heaviest items closest to the body and try not to put pointy objects near their back. A great bonus is if you can find a bag that also has a padded back for extra support and comfort.
Look for Padded Adjustable Straps.
When shopping for a backpack, make sure that you find a bag that has padded shoulder straps. When straps are not padded, they are not only uncomfortable, but they put a great deal of extra pressure on the neck and shoulders. There have been several studies recently on back pain and children, with most issues being directly related to backpacks. Choosing a bag with proper shoulder straps is an easy way to make sure that the bag isn’t doing any extra damage.
The straps should also be adjustable. This can help you make certain your child is wearing the backpack properly, and that the bag is sitting in the middle of your child’s back.
Make Sure Your Child is Wearing the Bag Properly.
In addition to having the right backpack, you also need to make sure that your child is wearing the backpack properly. Children should always use both straps. Using one strap means that all of the weight of the bag is hanging off to one side, and putting a great deal of stress on one side of the body. This can cause low back pain, your child to develop poor posture, and muscle spasms.
While backpacks can help kids keep all of their belongings safe and well organized, they can also do a great deal of damage if not used or worn correctly. Keep these backpack safety tips in mind this year and make sure that your child is getting regular checkups from their chiropractor so that you can rest assured your child will be safe and healthy all year round.