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.