Dr. Bell's Blog

5 Backpack Safety Tips For Your Child

As amazing as it may be, school will be starting again before we know it.  Every year children are putting their spine under tremendous risk by the way they are wearing their backpack.  Here are a list of do's and don't for your child's safety for this coming school year...

1.  Ideally be sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5-10% (max of 15%) of their body weight.  This rule of thumb is especially violated in very young children.  Weigh those backpacks on your home scale!

2.  Encourage them to always use both shoulder straps.  This is a BIG one!  having all the weight distributed on one side of the body causes extra, and unnecessary strain.

3.  The backpack should never hang more than 4 inches below their waist.  Pull those straps snug and use a waist strap for extra stability if it is equipped with one.

4.  Purchase backpacks with adjustable, padded straps for extra comfort.  This will allow it to be fitted comfortably to your child's body.

5.  Last, be sure to pack the heaviest items closest to your child's back for added stability.

Even when properly worn, repetitive posture stress over time can takes its toll on even the healthiest of spines.  Be sure to have your child's spine checked on a regular basis, especially during school, to help minimize the long term effects.  Regular spinal check-ups will not only help them make it through the school year healthy, but will build a foundation for a happy, healthy life.