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Posted on 08-07-2017

BACK PACK SAFETY TIPS FROM DR. LISA LEWIS

Back pack misuse can cause pain and spinal distortions.

•             Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 - 15% of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.

•            Choose a pack that is proportionate to your child’s size.  Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the top of the shoulder line to no more than 4 inches below waist level.  The pack should be no wider than the outer edge of the child’s shoulder blades.

•             A backpack with compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back. Place heaviest items closest to the body.

•             Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child's shoulders. The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child's body.  Loose straps can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.

•             Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps, and avoid one-strap backpacks. Lugging the backpack around by one shoulder can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, headaches and low-back pain.

•             If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

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