Break Bad Backpacking

New classrooms, teachers, friends; back-to-schoolers face lots of changes, but one thing remains the same: homework. And lots of it! All those books do more than just bring on some all-nighters. Heavy and unevenly distributed weight can cause damage to the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Students with overstuffed bags or disproportionate bags are subject to muscle spasms, cramps, misaligned spine, poor posture, slouching, and pain.  

• The weight of your child’s backpack should only be 5-10% off their body weight.

• A trend among some of our younger teens is having the backpack hang low around their waist, but this strains their back and shoulders even more. The bottom of the pack should hang as close to the waist as possible. The higher up, the better. 

• Another trend we see kids doing: slinging their backpack over one shoulder. This puts uneven pressure on the shoulder, back, neck, and hips that can cause serious pain & damage. An alternative to this is a crossbody messenger bag, with helps to evenly distribute the weight but still only uses one shoulder. Remind your kids to switch sides often, so one shoulder isn’t put under more stress than the other. Be symmetrical! 

• Another tip- make sure the backpack straps are soft and wide. Wide straps offer more support while soft padding eases discomfort of straps digging into muscles. 

• Get back to the basics! Encourage your children to bring home only what they need, and leave heavy books at school if possible.