Pack it Light
Backpacks & Your Child's Health
Carrying a heavy load can lead to poor posture and a distorted spinal column. Over time this can cause muscle strain, headaches, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.
A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back.
Packing the Backpack Properly
- Your child's backpack should only contain what is needed for that day.
- A full backpack should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of the wearer's body weight.
- Place the heaviest objects close to the body and light or odd-shaped objects away from the back.
Wearing the Backpack
- Backpacks should never be worn over only one shoulder - this can result in neck, shoulder, and back pain.
- Both shoulder straps should be used and adjusted so the backpack sits flush against the back
- Test the fit of the backpack by sliding your hand between the backpack and your child's back - if you can't slide your hand in, the backpack is too snug.
Backpack DOs and DON'Ts
- DON'T sling your backpack on one side.
- DO wear both straps and adjust them so that the pack fits snugly.
- DO use the waist strap. It reduces the strain on your back.
- DON'T carry your backpack too low: this can cause you to lean forward and puts the weight on your upper back.