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An Unlikely Cause of Injury Does Your Child’s Backpack Fit Correctly?
T he season is finally upon us. You’ve gone back-to-school shopping, packed your child’s lunch, and sent them off to catch the bus. But, did you take the time to evaluate their backpack? Every year, medical professionals treat more than 2,000 injuries resulting from ill-fitting backpacks. And, more than half of the children who use backpacks in the United States are carrying more weight than their bodies can handle. The following are tips to help you find the right backpack for your child. Straps Look for a pair of wide, padded shoulder straps to help distribute weight evenly and reduce the risk of muscle strain or injury. If your child prefers messenger bags, make sure they wear the strap diagonally for added support. If the backpack has front-facing straps, make sure they are adjusted correctly so the pack fits snugly.
Padding The back panel and shoulder straps should be padded with foam. If you squeeze the foam and it pops like bubble wrap or crinkles like wax paper, the pack is of poor quality. Foam should rebound to its original shape after being squeezed. Room A backpack should be able to easily fit 3-inch, three-ring binders and other classroom essentials. But bigger is not always better. If the foam pad comes to the back of the neck or head, the pack is too large. Materials If environmental sustainability matters to you, opt for a hemp backpack or packs made of other natural fibers. Make sure that all zippers zip smoothly and don’t catch on the fabric. Snaps should open and close smoothly as well.
Weight Make sure the weight of the pack does not exceed 10 percent of your child’s body weight. If the pack is too
heavy, your child will experience back and shoulder issues.
On September 21 from 3–5 p.m., Rue & Primavera will offer a free backpack screening for children on Whidbey Island to ensure every child’s backpack fits correctly. We will also perform evaluations for those carrying purses or briefcases and give tips on posture and overall back happiness. We hope to see you there!
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