Back-to-School: Buying Backpacks That Won’t Hurt Their Backs

provided by Cadence Sports Therapy

With Calgary students returning to the classroom in a few short weeks, back-to-school shopping is a top priority for parents. While students may have strong ideas about what backpack they want to be sporting for the new year, to prevent long-term injuries, Dr. Angela Pucci urges parents to consider features, other than aesthetics, when selecting backpacks.

“Kids are super resilient, let’s keep them that way by treating their little bodies properly,” Dr. Pucci explains. Research, including a 2010 study from the University of California, San Diego, indicates that too heavy backpacks significantly increases back pain in children. With the body out of proper alignment when carrying a heavy backpack, shoulders, hips and knees also are strained.

As a mother of two and a passionate Chiropractor, Dr. Angela Pucci has a few tips for parents to keep in mind while out shopping for new backpacks, and throughout the remainder of the school year:

  • Look for Styles with Multiple Compartments: A backpack that has different areas to store items means that there are more options to distribute weight.
  • Consider a Waist Belt: A waist belt allows the weight of the backpack to be more evenly distributed across the body.
  • Use a Bathroom Scale: You may not have ever considered weighing your child’s backpack, but the contents shouldn’t be over 10-15% of your child’s body weight (i.e. a child that weighs 90 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack over 9-13.5 pounds).
  • Use Both Straps on the Bag: Picking up and using the bag properly can be more challenging to get your kids to do, but their muscles may become strained if they sling the bag over their shoulder or chest, or have a bag with only one strap – encourage children to use both straps on their backpacks.

Dr. Angela Pucci enjoys treating people of all ages and stages of life, including school age children. She is certified in Active Release Techniques, Graston Technique, Kinesiotape, Custom Orthotic Therapy, and Acupuncture. Visit www.cadencesportstherapy.com for more information.

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