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Backpack Safety for Kids

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Weight in backpack destroys posture

The type of backpack your child uses and how much weight he has to carry plays a large role in spinal health both now and into the future. Look at the pictures of my step son Tony with different amounts of weight in his backpack. As the weight increases, he has to lean more and more forward to balance the weight the best he can…if he doesn’t, he risks tipping backwards. This promotes poor posture and will eventually contribute to the postural look of the elderly when he gets older. Here are some guidelines for backpacks:

  • Never put more than 15% of body weight into the backpack. If your child weighs 100 pounds than do not have them carry more than 15 pounds.
  • Find backpacks that have a strap around the waste. This can take a good chunk of the weight and rest it on the pelvis which is considerably better.
  • Always double strap the backpack. Single strapping causes your child to lean forward and to the side opposite the backpack. This creates forward posture and unlevel shoulders.
  • Keep the heaviest books closest to your child’s back and lighter objects the furthest backwards.
  • If heavy books need to be carried back and forth from school to home maybe there’s an option to get two of the same book. One that stays at home and one that goes to school.
Hopefully, one day, all text books will be found on iPads. Ideally we would have backpacks that had two compartments, one on your child’s back and one on the chest to balance weight evenly from front to back. Although this isn’t really practical, the concept is educational. Keep weight close to the body and balance the load the best you can. We have to try to do our best to protect their spines from the damaging effects of backpacks. Remember the saying, “As a twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

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About the Author:

Dr. Aberle has been in clinical practice since 1997. He's been using Advanced BioStructural Technique since 2006 as his primary method of treatment. In his spare time he enjoys computers, programming and electronics.
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