Lighten the load
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
A roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. When it comes time to buy a backpack and load it with school supplies, you might want to keep a few of these tips in mind:
Comfortable to wear and carry:
Wide, padded shoulder straps provide the most comfort. Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack—using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.
Sized correctly for kids:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child not carry more than 15% to 20% of his or her weight. Instead of guessing, use your scale to weigh the loaded pack. Also, a backpack should not be wider than your child’s torso or hang more than 4 inches below the waist.
Offers good organization:
Compartments in the backpack are an excellent way to distribute weight evenly. Pack the heaviest items closest to the back. “One way to avoid muscle strain and back pain is to use a backpack correctly,” said Nathaniel Amor, D.O., board-certified neurosurgeon, Genesis Neurosurgery Group. “If your child leans forward with the backpack on, it’s too heavy.” An alternative to strapping on a backpack is pulling a bag on wheels. If you’re uncomfortable with the heavy load in your student’s backpack, check with your local school to see if wheeled bags are allowed.