Children and Backpacks

Back to school time parents so here is the back pack reminder care of an interview I did with

Before you buy a new backpack for your child, take a few minutes to consider more than just the style and colour.

“A few minutes spent on the selection and proper fit of your child’s backpack for school can go a long way to ensuring a healthy posture,” says Matthew Powell, the clinical director of West Fourth Physio in Vancouver. “Look for a backpack that has a padded back to it, so that sharp objects don’t poke through. The shoulder straps need to be adjustable and should be two inches wide or wider.”

According to a report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 20,000 children visit their doctor’s office or emergency rooms each year due to backpack-related injuries, including headaches, back pain, pulled muscles, and even fractures.

An improperly-fitting backpack places pressure on a child’s developing spine and neck, and could contribute to the development of poor posture. When a backpack is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, a child may also compensate by bending at the hips, slouching, or arching the back. Choosing a backpack that distributes weight evenly can help prevent neck, shoulder and back injuries.

Backpacks: Children’s Health & Posture Tips

“Adjust the backpack so that the bottom is a couple of inches above the child’s waist,” says Powell. “For a smaller child, also look for a waist strap. It’s really helpful for them if they can shift the weight down to their hips, rather than dragging it on their shoulders.”

Parents should also:

*Encourage a child to wear their backpack evenly over both shoulders – slinging it over one shoulder just promotes an unhealthy posture and leads to neck and back strain that can cause an injury.

*Make sure a backpack doesn’t weigh more than 15 percent of the child’s body weight. If it looks like they’re pushing that limit, encourage them to unpack things they don’t need on a daily basis.

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