Back Pack Safety and Chiropractic

“Bad weather plus your child’s back pack… equal neck, back or shoulder pains in our little ones!”

How big of a problem is Back Pack pain in our little ones? Well, get this. Your child’s backpack might be causing harm. The potential dangers of heavy backpacks used by children are greater than most parents realize.

According to national guidelines, students should carry backpacks that weigh… no more than 10-15% of their body weight. Yet did you know that…

“55% of students are carrying backpacks that weigh much more than the recommended weight?” (Simmons College, April, 2001)

Why is this such an “invisible” health concern? Hey, we realize we’re starting to sound like overprotective parents here, but consider this. Over the years the average weight associated with a children’s backpack has increased 120% since the 1970’s! Today in addition to school books, kids are also cramming their karate outfits in their backpacks… along with iPods, Game Boys, extra gym clothes for their after school sports leagues, baseball gloves, lunch pails, etc. Children today are “overscheduled” and thus carry much more “weight” into their backpacks to accommodate their extra-busy lifestyles.

Carrying too much weight really can cause permanent damage to a child’s back and spine. This is a serious health concern. As chiropractors, we are seeing more and more children complaining about back pain and it is often because of the weight they’re carrying on their backs to and from school every day.

A survey conducted by AIRPACKS in 2000 revealed that 66% of school nurses reported seeing students with pain or injury caused by backpacks. Here are a few quick tips:

1. Wear backpack straps on both shoulders, not just one

2. Put heavier books closest to the back, which can reduce the awkward strain

3. Teach your child to bend at the knees while lifting backpacks

4. Try to reduce the load! Only carry what is necessary each day.

If you would like to have your child examined or have concerns about their health, please give us a call at (425) 670-2600 or schedule here.  We’re here to help! Drs. Dreessen and Gilmore.

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