Back to school means backpack time! Kids love picking out backpacks with their favorite superheroes or Disney stars but overstuffed packs can take a toll on young bodies. Are your kids wearing their backpacks the right way? Parents should be aware that overloaded backpacks can cause back pain if worn improperly.
How to wear a backpack
Dr. Andrew Casden says “overloaded backpacks can lead to fatigue, muscle irritation and tiny muscle tears that bring kids into the office with pain. Students should know the proper way to wear their backpacks to avoid pain.”
The good news is that most times the damage isn’t permanent and pain can be alleviated by minor behavior adjustments. Dr. Casden recommends the following 5 tips for children:
· Reduce the weight in the pack – weight should not exceed 20% of the child’s body weight.
· Bend at the knees, not at the waist when lifting heavy packs.
· Wear the backpack over both shoulders, not slung over only one.
· Place heavy items in the back of the pack.
· Consider a pack on wheels that can be dragged rather than carried.
Back pain in children is rarely serious, but should not be ignored either. If children complain of persistent pain, you should consult a physician to rule out any medical problems.
–Dr. Andrew Casden is the associate director of Beth Israel’s Spine Institute