It’s that time of year again to start shopping for the most important back-to-school accessory – a backpack. Before your child settles on the coolest backpack to express their personal style, remember the following tips to find the right backpack that will minimize the risk of joint discomfort and muscle injury/damage:
In choosing a backpack, look for the following features:
• Wide, padded shoulder straps that will not dig into shoulders
• Different compartments to help distribute weight
• Waist and chest straps for heavier loads
Remind your child to pack his or her backpack properly. This includes keeping only necessary items in the backpack for lighter transport. The heaviest items should be placed towards the middle of the back. In general, the backpack should not contain more than 15% of your child’s body weight.
Clean out the backpack regularly to reduce unnecessary materials and scrap paper.
The shoulder straps should fit snugly, but not too tight, as this may cause discomfort while walking. Make sure your child uses both straps when wearing the backpack. This will help distribute weight evenly across the back. Using only one strap may look cooler, but it can cause undue muscle and joint strain on one shoulder.