Back to School Back Health
School is meant to be challenging, but it’s not supposed to be painful. Many kids feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, from social pressures to assignment deadlines. Although it might not be quite as heavy as the world, too many children actually do carry around a lot of weight on their shoulders…in the form of their backpacks. These heavy loads place stress on their spines, which causes muscle strain and fatigue. For some kids, the aches and pains can get bad enough they need to seek medical attention. Too much weight can also lead to posture abnormalities, headaches, and inattentiveness due to discomfort.
In our “information era”, class loads are larger than ever, and being prepared for class means
carrying books back and forth between school and home. You can help your child lighten the
load by making sure you select the right backpack style and fit for your child. We’ve done the work for you, and listed below are our favorite recommendations for children based on their age group:
For elementary school kids, our absolute favorite backpack is the Firebird Flyer Backpack , which boasts multiple fun designs, but also a unique horizontal design and drop shoulder straps that distribute weight laterally along the back and resists heavy pulling on the shoulders. This backpack is perfect for kids ages 3 and up. (It also comes with matching rain boots and a lunchbox, so your child can be the *most* stylish one on the bus!)
For Middle School aged children, we found that the Ergo Bag is likely the best on the market
when it comes to back health. This backpack even has a buckling waist strap to help offset
some of the weight on your child’s shoulders, and has multiple adjustable straps and “grow
technology” so this durable backpack can adjust to your child’s growth spurts.
For High Schoolers, this Primary Physiopack III is top notch, and the Impact Ergocomfort
Backpack is a close second. Both are roomy, lightweight, ergonomically designed to help reduce slouching, and are still stylish enough to get the compliments from fellow classmates.
For those kids who are no longer kids and have flocked to college, the Kopak Antitheft Laptop Backpack is our recommendation. It’s great for commuting and on-campus students alike, with sizes to accommodate both 15” and 17” laptops, a USB charging station, and straps that distribute weight along the traps.
Lets not forget the adults (and parents)! We strongly recommend the Happy Teeth backpack
designed by healthcare professionals. This backpack can be fully customized to you and your
lifestyle. It’s a multipurpose backpack that accommodates a full workday with a shoe storage
pocket, insulated lunch enclosure, and can even be used as an ergonomic diaper bag for the
Keys to Backpack Safety
Make sure your child uses both backpack straps. Using one strap shifts the weight to one side and this can cause muscle pain and posture problems.
Make sure the shoulder straps are tight, so the backpack fits closely to your child’s back.
A low-hanging backpack can cause spinal misalignment and pain.
Encourage your child to use the chest and waist straps and adjust them to the load each time, to and from school.
If the backpacks we recommended aren’t your style, here are seven tips to ensure you select the right backpack for your precious little one. Ensuring your child has the right-sized backpack and wears it properly can prevent back pain or posture problems. Follow these seven tips to allow your child to have a safe, healthy, pain-free school year!
Choose an appropriate size: Chiropractors recommend the backpack not
be wider than your child’s torso. It also shouldn’t hang more than 4 inches
below the waist.
Make sure it has wide, padded, and adjustable shoulder straps. Double shoulder straps
allow the weight to be spread out evenly. Wide, padded shoulder straps will prevent
them from digging into the skin.
Inspect for a padded back to protect against contents inside from poking into your child’s body.
Chiropractors recommend using the waist and chest straps to help distribute the
backpacks weight more evenly across your child’s back.
Make sure it has multiple compartments so that the weight is distributed effectively.
Check for inside compression straps to stabilize the contents.
Chose a backpack with reflective material on the outside, so your
child is more visible.