Did you know that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 5,415 injuries caused by backpacks seen in emergency rooms in 2013 alone? This number is just absolutely alarming and should be taken very seriously. As parents, we send our children to school every year in order to prepare them for a better future, so why are we sending them to and from school with backpacks weighing over 35 pounds? As a community we are setting our children up for physical, psychological and even emotional failure, via possibly serious injuries and unnecessary pain/aches.
Let’s educate ourselves and together help make a difference in our children’s lives. Here are a few tips to keep in mind and to implement at home with your own children:
Choose the Right Backpack and adjust straps correctly: When it comes to backpacks, it’s all about the size. Make sure your child’s backpack is just the perfect size for them, measuring it directly on their back would be best before purchasing. The right size backpack should meet their lower back, most importantly the straps must be adjusted so that the bag does not hang more than four inches below the belt. Also, the backpack should have two well-padded straps, we know that the messenger-style bags were in style for a while but it’s definitely not the best for your child’s back health.
Pack the essential and do so correctly: It’s important that when packing your child’s backpack, you pack only the essentials. No need to pack for every possible emergency or scenario. Once you are ready to pack those items that made the “Must Have” list, remember to distribute the weight evenly, packing the heaviest objects towards the center. By doing so, you will prevent placing additional pressure on the spine, and in turn possible long term injuries.
Wear it Right & Adjust those straps correctly: Some children like to wear their backpacks hanging off of one shoulder, call it style or simply practicality. Whichever the reason, using only one strap could contribute to serious neck and shoulder pain, even causing scoliosis. Make sure that when talking to your children you emphasize on the importance of wearing their backpacks correctly, with both straps on.
As an added tip and advice, bring your child in for a quick consult with Dr. Monsalve, there is nothing better than starting off the year with a complete health evaluation. Contact us today at 305- 209-4731 and schedule your next appointment.