Are Your Child’s Backpacks Making the Grade?

With back-to-school right around the corner, the British Columbia Chiropractic Association (BCCA) and BC’s Chiropractors would like to remind parents and educators about the long-term health risks associated with wearing poorly designed backpacks and/or carrying too much weight.

Over 50% of Canadian youth will suffer at least one back pain episode during their school years. Not only are these injuries painful, they can directly impact a student’s ability to concentrate and learn. They can also have an impact on the enjoyment of leisure and sports activities, which are an equally critical part of a young person’s life.

“Injuries related to backpacks that are too heavy or worn incorrectly can have lasting effects. It’s very important that parents and educators pay attention that backpacks are not overloaded and are worn correctly.” says Dr. Jay Robinson, BCCA President.

It’s common for kids to lug around backpacks appearing to be twice their body weight. Though it may seem cool to sling a heavy load over one shoulder – long-term head, neck, and shoulder pain are not. Here are some helpful tips that will help your child carry his or her backpack with ease:

START WITH THE BAG: choose a lightweight bag (canvas or vinyl are best) with a padded back, two wide (around 2 inches in width) shoulder straps, a hip or waist strap and lots of pockets.

MAXIMIZE THOSE POCKETS: pick a pack with lots of compartments, and use them, to help balance the load.

HEAVIER ITEMS IN THE BACK: pack heaviest items closest to your back. Make sure items in the backpack are not sliding around.

PACK IT LIGHT: The backpack should only contain what is needed for the day. Kids in grades K-8 should not carry more than 10% of their total body weight. Kids in grades 8 and up can get away with up to 15%. Weight adds up quick so make sure to weigh that pack.

WEAR IT RIGHT: Place the backpack on a flat, waist-level surface and slip straps on one at a time. Adjust the straps so the pack sits flush against the back, it should be fit well but not be too tight (if you can’t slide a hand between the pack and your child’s back it’s too tight. Use the hip or waist strap, it reduces the strain on the back.

For more backpack tips and downloadable backpack safety resources visit www.bcchiro.com/PackItLight.

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About

The British Columbia Chiropractic Association (BCCA) is the voluntary professional organization that represents BC’s chiropractors. We are dedicated to advancing the chiropractic profession through public awareness, advocacy to government, and collaborating with other health professionals to improve the lives of British Columbians.

Spine, muscle, nervous system and related conditions affect 8 out of 10 British Columbians at least once during their lifetime. Chiropractors are experts trained to diagnose the cause of pain, treat that pain, and help prevent it from coming back allowing people to lead healthy, active lives.

SOURCE British Columbia Chiropractic Association 

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