Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture? Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school backpack? Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain. Parents can take steps to help children load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems. Loading the backpack: • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 10 pounds. • Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of the pack). •Arrangebooksandmaterialsso theywon’tslidearound in thebackpack. • Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities. • If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack. • If the backpack is too heavy on a regular basis, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it. Wearing the backpack: • Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort. • Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks BACKPACK SAFETY
have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied. • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain muscles. • Wear the waist belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly. • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline. • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items. • Only put items in your backpack that you need for the day.
EASY EXERCISES FOR BACK PAIN RELIEF CORNER PECTORAL STRETCH Stand in corner, arms slightly above shoulder height and your elbows bent, forearms flat against the sides of the wall. Move chest towards the wall, feeling a stretch in the front of your chest. Repeat 3 times. TRY THESE EXERCISES FOR YOUR BACK!
STANDING LUMBAR EXTENSIONS Stand with good posture, feet shoulder width apart. Position your hands on the backs of your hips. Lean back, as far as you comfortably can. Slowly return to the start position.
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