Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
For many students, a new school year means a new posture. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. With heavy books and poorly sized backpacks, children all across Houston are slouching forward with heavy loads weighing them down around campus.
I’ve written before about the danger of “one-shouldering” a backpack. This school year, I’d like to share with you a helpful infographic from HuffPost Parents that can help ensure your child’s backpack isn’t causing any musculoskeletal harm. According to the research presented in the article, 14,000 children are treated for backpack related injuries each year (5,000 in the emergency department). Discover how to ensure a healthy backpack posture below…
Healthy Backpack Posture – Infographic
- Materials should be lightweight.
- Backpack should be worn close to the body with minimal space between the back and the pack.
- The backpack should be the length of the torso with the bottom hitting just two inches below the waist.
- Always use both straps.
- Use a waist strap (preferably a thick one) to distribute weight.
- A backpack with multiple compartments can help distribute the weight. Heavier items should be packed low and close to the body.
- Once full, a backpack should be 10-15 percent of your child’s weight.
What You Can Do As a Parent…
As a parent, you want to see your children enjoy as healthy a life as possible. In addition to selecting a properly fitting backpack, here are a few suggestions for lightening the load:
- Encourage your children to use a desk or locker throughout the day for their primary storage.
- Talk to your children about only carrying home what they need.
- Teach your kids how to safely pick up and put on their backpacks: bend at the knees and use both hands to lift up.
- Encourage your children to utilize all of the backpack’s pockets. This helps distribute weight as the manufacturer intended.
- Look into other lightweight options: buy paperbacks over hardbacks and use digital content instead of paper when possible.
Schedule An Appointment With a Houston Orthopedic Doctor
Have questions about healthy posture or joint stress? Schedule an appointment online or by calling Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics at (713) 756-5546. As a downtown Houston orthopedic doctor, I frequently evaluate, diagnose and treat problems in the spine, hips, shoulders, knees and other joints. If joint pain is affecting your quality of life, come see us!
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.