Video:How to Avoid Backpack Back Injurieswith Jonathon E. Stewart
Heavy backpacks are a common cause of back injuries for children, but these injuries can be avoided. Here are some tips for preventing backpack back injuries.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Avoid Backpack Back InjuriesFrom elementary school to middle to high school, kids are lugging home more and more stuff after the bell rings. Between the heavy textbooks, supplies, and sports gear, it's no wonder that kids are experiencing more back injuries from all this heavy lifting. Fortunately, here are many ways to help your kids avoid such backpack back injuries.
Avoid Back Injuries by Carrying Lighter BackpacksDoctors from Cedars-Sinai Institute for Spinal Disorders and Orthopedic Center have noted that children should carry backpacks that hold less than 15 percent of their total body weight in order to avoid strain on their back, spine, and neck. While backpacks are supposed to evenly distribute the weight, very few children wear them properly by linking both their arms through the straps. Most carry them on one shoulder for that 'cool' effect. Encourage your kids to wear both straps to help with their posture.
Only Carry Necessary MaterialsBut as enforcing this one is clearly easier said than done, there are other steps to take, including making some decisions about what is really necessary to carry in the backpack. Consider what items are necessities and what items can really be left at home or in a locker or desk at school. If your children can finish up reading or an assignment at school, then encourage them not to bring that heavy book home. Sports gear can also typically be stored at school in a gym locker. Keep a duplicate set of pencils, erasers, and other "school tools" at home so they also don't have to bring those back and forth in their backpack. In a pinch, if a heavy book must come home, consider having them hold the book in their arms instead of putting it in the backpack. This can further distribute the weight that the child is carrying and even the load out.
Consider New Backpacks to Avoid Back InjuriesIf you notice your child slouching over on a regular basis, it might be time to consider a new style of backpack, such as a rolling backpack. These are styled after the commonly used rolling suitcases and luggage used for traveling. When fitting your child for one of these types of backpacks, make sure that the retractable handle is long enough so they can walk in an upright position when pulling it behind them. Look for other features that demonstrate good quality, including sturdy wheels, double stitching, and heavyweight material. If your child doesn't like these because they don't have a cool design and prefers the traditional backpack, make sure it has well-padded straps and can adjust to fit their back. Also, show them how to take it on and off to prevent back strain. If they bend at the knees and put a hand on each strap as they lift it or set it down, they can potentially prevent or minimize any back injuries.
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