Proper Children’s Backpack Guidelines from Shakopee Chiropractors

child with proper backpack

According to a study published in The Spine Journal, 6% of 10-year-old kids complain of back pain, which increases to 10% – 15% for 12-year-old kids. One of the most common culprits is wearing an improper or overloaded backpack. Heavy and unbalanced backpacks can cause serious damage to the neck, shoulders, mid back, and lower back all at a time when a child’s spine is developing and more prone to permanent damage.

Shakopee, MN Chiropractors, Drs. Jesse and Andrea Sylvester, list out guidelines to help you choose the proper backpack for your child.

Selecting the Right Size

To assure a proper fit, make sure it is proportionate to their body. The backpack should never be longer or wider than your child’s torso. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), a “backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.” This can cause a child to lean forward when walking and cause postural stress.

Choose a backpack that can carry your child’s books, but not too many books. The more room your child has to put stuff into their backpack, the more they will put in and the heavier it will be. Additionally, backpacks with multiple compartments can help you distribute weight and objects properly.

Shoulder Straps

Shoulder straps should be wide, heavily padded and adjustable. The straps should fit snug without digging into their shoulders. Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack is positioned in the center of the child’s back. If a backpack is too loose it can cause spinal misalignment.

Weight of the Backpack

A backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of their total body weight. For example, a 60-lb child should not carry more than 6 pounds. Keep the pack on the lighter side and place the heavy objects in the main compartment of the backpack, closest to the body.

Wearing the Backpack

Both straps should always be worn. When slinging the backpack over one shoulder, a disproportionate shift of weight takes place. This can cause low back pain, shoulder pain, and muscle spasms. Make sure both straps are adjusted to keep the backpack in the center of the child’s back. Keeping the backpack centered and close to the body will distribute its weight evenly across the shoulders and back.

Visiting the Chiropractor

Regular use of heavy, improper backpacks can cause life lasting physical damage. Most often, parents don’t notice there is an issue with a child’s backpack until they complain. If your child does experience discomfort it is important to bring them to a chiropractor as soon as you can. When visiting Sylvester Family Chiropractic, we will assess your child’s posture and check for proper spinal alignment. Any misalignments that are detected may be corrected by our chiropractors to keep your child’s spine healthy and pain-free.