Our children’s safety is always a top priority. We teach them how to wear their seatbelts. We teach them how to wear their bicycle helmets. But do we ever teach them how to wear their backpacks? Filled with heavy textbooks, notebooks, binders and other school supplies, the average child’s backpack is far too heavy for his frame placing him at substantial risk for back pain and related issues in the future.

There are several WRONG ways to wear a backpack.

  1. 1. Backpacks should not exceed 10-15% of a child’s body weight. Overloaded backpacks cause users to bend forward to support the weight on their backs, rather than on the shoulders by the straps. So, lighten the load as much as possible by teaching your child only to bring the necessities.
  2. 2. Backpacks should not hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing the user to lean forward when walking. A properly packed backpack with a front strap across the child’s chest can ensure that the weight of the bag is as close to the spine as possible, which will also reduce stress on back muscles.
  3. 3. Backpacks should not be used with only one shoulder strap. Carrying the backpack around by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and lower back pain.

There’s only one RIGHT way to wear a backpack.

Keep it light and close to the body. A sparsely packed bag positioned properly against the back and shoulders help to maintain the neck and back alignment. Bend at the hips then lift with the legs and buttocks while tightening the core abdominal muscles. Always avoid twisting when lifting.

When your back hurts, it can make your whole day harder. Give us a call at (504) 885-8969 and let us help you get up and running again.

by Lee Couret