10 Backpack Safety Tips that Every Parent Needs to Know for their School-Aged Child

Local Vaughan Chiropractor Discusses Essential Backpack Safety Awareness Tips for Parents of School-Aged Kids

Back in the day when I was in grade school (we ‘re talking about the 80’s) kids didn’t carry or use backpacks.

It wasn’t the norm as it is today and so it didn’t pose a common risk to the backs and spines of school-aged children.

The most we carried to school was a lunch box and one or two books.

Today, I see children with backpacks that are filled to the max and super heavy for their petite body size.

 

Here are 10 essential backpack safety awareness tips that every parent should know:

  1. Avoid choosing a backpack for the fashionable look. Backpacks are needed for their functionality and not for their looks. Choose a good backpack for your child that has evenly distributed compartments, a padded back side and padded shoulder straps.
  2. The backpack size should be proportional to your child body size. A common mistake I see is that the child is carrying a backpack that is too big for them. The danger is that the backpack gets overloaded and heavy.
  3. The weight of the backpack should be 10% of the child body weight. So, an 60 lb child should be carrying a backpack that is 6 lbs. A 60 lb child should NOT be carrying a backpack that is 15 lbs for example. To an adult that may not seem too heavy, but it represents 25% of the child’s body weight (in this example). Imagine an adult with a body weight of 180 lbs carrying a weight on their back that is 25% of their body weight. That equals 45 lbs of weight. I don’t think you would find that appealing nor comforting. The same goes for a child. In fact, a heavy backpack places a tremendous amount of load on the child’s spine which can lead to strains.
  4. All heavy books (like text books) should be stored in the backside of the backpack, closest to the child’s back. Lighter books and items should be stored in the front of the backpack. This allows the heavier items to be closer to the child’s center of mass when standing and walking thereby minimizing strain on their back and neck.
  5. Use the side pockets and compartments evenly. These compartments should be used to store smaller items like water bottles, pencil cases etc.
  6. Teach your child to wear BOTH shoulder straps. This gets the weight of the backpack evenly distributed throughout the child’s body and prevents overloading to one side of the shoulder.
  7. The backpack should never hang low on the child’s back. This will cause slouching and a poor posture to develop. Show your child how to tighten the backpack so it rests right up on the child’s back by tugging on the pull straps located on the shoulder straps.
  8. Leave non-essential items at home, like handheld gaming devices etc. Items that are not essential for schooling needs will increase the weight and bulkiness of the backpack.
  9. Binders add more bulk to the backpack. Minimize the number of binders used and consolidate homework sheets into one smaller folder or binder.
  10. Lunches can add weight and bulk to the backpack. Consider a light reusable lunch bag and have the child carry it by hand to avoid added load to the back.

 

Parents, by following these 10 backpack safety tips, you can help minimized the weight and load of the child’s backpack and prevent strain and poor posture from developing. 

Related Articles By Dr. Walter Salubro

Backpack Safety For School Children: What Parents Need To Know

Chiropractic Advice For Backpack Safety

September Is Backpack Safety Awareness Month At Back To Health Chiropractic Centre

The Top 10 Reasons For Your Child To Have A Chiropractic Check-Up

Written by

Dr. Walter Salubro

Dr. Walter Salubro is a family wellness chiropractor, the author of Back to Health by Choice, and the owner of Back To Health Chiropractic Centre in Maple, Ontario. He grew up in Toronto, Ontario, and moved to Vaughan, Ontario, with his family at the age of fifteen. Dr. Salubro graduated from York University in 1996 and from the National College of Chiropractic in 1999. He has been practicing chiropractic and serving his community of Maple and Vaughan for over fifteen years. Dr. Salubro provides chiropractic care to people of all age groups. He is trained in applying specific chiropractic techniques that are just as suitable for children as they are for adults. In addition to offering specific spinal adjustments and posture corrective techniques, Dr. Salubro offers an extensive lineup of health seminars, exercise classes, and a run/walk club to his patients. Dr. Salubro is an avid runner, having completed multiple marathons and half marathons. Dr. Walter Salubro is dedicated to providing exceptional chiropractic care for all his patients. He caters to the care of infants and pregnant mothers. Dr. Salubro is certified from the Academy of Chiropractic Family Practice and the Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (CACCP). Dr. Walter Salubro is Webster Technique Certified, which is certified and recognized by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA).
 
Results from using our products and/or services may vary from person to person. Results are not typical.