Soon children, teens and young adults will be returning to school. The backpack is the most common means for carrying books, lunches and other school-related objects.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission there are estimated to be 20,000 visits to emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics as a result of backpack-related injuries. The injuries from backpacks range from neck, back and shoulder strains to contusions and even fractures – from falls.
Back pain in children, teens and young adults is not uncommon, as it once was believed to be. If a child complains of neck, back or shoulder pain without a history of trauma, parents should consider that it might be because his or her backpack – or perhaps something more serious.
The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of a child’s body weight. For example, 10 pounds maximum for a 100-pound child. This figure might vary, however, based on the child’s body strength and fitness level.
The most common signs that a backpack is too heavy include:
# Frequent change in posture while carrying the backpack.
# Excessive forward leaning to walk.
# Struggling to put on the backpack.
# Pain in any area while wearing the backpack.
# Tingling or numbness especially in the arms or hands.
# Red marks on the skin from the straps.
Five Steps to Preventing Backpack-Related Injuries
With regular chiropractic checkups and a few simple preventive measures, you can keep your child injury free. The Following are five winning tips from experts at the Backpack Safety America program.
1) Ensure that your child’s backpack is sturdy and appropriately sized. Some manufacturers offer special child-sized versions for children ages five to ten. These packs weigh less than a pound and have shorter back lengths and widths to prevent slippage.
2) Consider more than looks when choosing a backpack. An ill-fitting pack can cause back pain, muscle strain or nerve impingement. To help distribute the load, look for packs with padded shoulder straps and waist straps.
3) Ensure that the weight of your child’s pack does not exceed 10% of his or her body weight.
4) Avoid overloading by prioritizing the items your child carries and elimination unnecessary contents.
5) Teach your youngster to pack his or her backpack by evenly distributing the contents throughout the pack.
6) Insist that your child never carry a backpack on one shoulder. Both shoulder straps – as well as the waist strap – should be used at all times.
Dr. Neil Vance, Chiropractic Physician at Dr. Vance’s Family Chiropractic, is offering free back to school check ups for kids of all ages until Monday, September 27.
Call 315.685.2070 to make an appointment! We are located just 1 mile from Skaneateles Village.
Dr. Vance’s Family Chiropractic
1398 Coach Road
Skaneateles, NY 13152
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