Back packs may seem harmless and even appear beneficial to school children. In many ways, these are actually very useful and convenient for young kids going to school who need to carry their books and other school materials on a daily basis. However, many parents are not aware of the potential problems that can develop if they do not practice safety measures. Back pain and other conditions can ensue. Here are some ways on how to keep children's backs strong and straight.
Common Causes of Back Problems from Backpacks
- Lack of cushioning in the straps or back area
- Carrying too much weight or load
- Improper wearing of the backpack
- Uneven distribution of weight
- Wrong posture
If problems are left untreated or uncorrected, more problems can result such as:
- Shoulder pain
- Distortion of the lower and middle back
- Long term pain and irritation on the rib cage, spine and adjacent muscles
- Back weakness and intolerance for sports and other activities
- Loss of or poor balance, making the child more prone to falls and other accidents
Ways for Prevention of Back and Shoulder Pain
- Check the back pack model and functions. There should be enough compartments and space to hold all the weight and evenly distribute it across the child’s back. There should also be well-padded straps for the shoulders, a waist strap and other safety handles and contraptions to make it easier to carry and handle.
- The back pack should be worn evenly across the back. The straps should not be kept too high or too low to properly put the weight on the back and shoulders.
- Children should be taught how to carry the back pack properly by keeping their shoulders back, their chest out and their chin up. They should look forward at all times and walk properly. Advice children not to run with the backpack on to keep the load from bouncing and straining their back.
- Experts advise parents to allow their kids to carry bags only up to 15% to 20% of their body weight.
- When the school children reach home and unload their bag, let them do some shoulder, neck, back and head exercises and stretching activities to soothe the muscles and reduce pain and strain. Practice the steps daily to keep children safe and free from back troubles.