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Back to School Basics!

Written by Dr. Deepa Patel

Child with BackpackAugust is a time for many to start preparing for the upcoming school year. During the school year we often see oversized backpacks on small framed children or overstuffed backpacks that are weighing the students down and causing harm to their backs. Here are some helpful tips for getting your children ready to take on their new classes and schedules with a happier back.

The weight of a backpack and the contents inside should not exceed 10-15% of a child’s body weight. The straps of the backpack need to be worn on both shoulders to help distribute the weight evenly across the back so as to not overload one side of the body. As you go shopping for school supplies keep in mind the following things when purchasing a new backpack.

  • Lightweight pack: get a pack that does not add a lot of extra weight. (For example, leather packs look nice, but they weigh more than canvas backpacks)
  • Padded shoulder straps (2″ wide): Straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders causing pain
  • Padded back: A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects from having items poke through, such as pencils, pens, rulers, or even books.
  • Waist belt: Utilizing a waist belt helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body
  • Multiple compartments: The more compartments a pack has the more weight can be distributed throughout the pack.

Remember despite having a structurally supportive backpack, if the contents inside weigh more than the recommended percentage of your child’s weight, harm to a child’s back can occur. It’s important to always check the contents and see what can be left out in order to maintain the recommended weight of 10-15% of the child’s body weight.

Happy back to school prep everyone!

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