Back to School Basics for Better Health
Over the summer as parents we fortunately got to enjoy more quality time with family than we usually would. As the summer winds down its now back to our regular routines of school and professional life.
For the students in virtual world out there I want to offer some helpful advice. Your backpack is your friend or it can be your enemy. The most important factor in choosing a backpack is selecting the right size for child. Kids can easily suffer with over-weighted, poorly sized packs and can experience neck and shoulder pain and/or low back pain with stiffness and weakness. While more stylish I wouldn't recommend messenger bags, oversized purses or tote bags. These typically distribute the load unevenly and put tremendous pressure on the spine.
Rule of thumb recommendations to keep the potential for injury to a child or adult of any age is as follows.
Pack Size: pack when filled should at most wight 15% of their body weight. So someone weighing 50lbs should carry at most 7-8 lbs. Someone weighing 150lbs should carry 20-23lbs.
Proper Fit: Should be worn on both shoulders with snug straps, so there is a snug fit between pack and the persons back. Packs though "kinda cool" to do should not be slung over one shoulder as it defeats the point of having a backpack and causes undue strain.
Fill: always put heavier items on the bottom, lighter on the top. Pack the external pockets lower ones first. We are typically strongest at the core so the weight should be distributed with that in mind.
Type: The greater the foundation the better so wider shoulder straps and a waist belt are recommended. Many colors and styles to satisfy the most discriminating clothes horse are now available. Remember properly distributed weight will relieve the pressure and strain on the lower back.
School regulations are different all over the world. With the unfortunate events of the last several years school lockers which were meant to aid the student by storing their things are now consider safety hazards. Kids are now required to haul everything to school and back. Parents should keep an eye on clues that they may be challenged if you see them straining, shifting postures, rubbing tender areas, or complaints of numbness or tingling in the arms.
The right backpack, worn as designed, will help you and your child carry your things safely with minimal injury to the spine.