Is your child’s backpack safe? Tips from NJ chiropractor
With many schools in New Jersey opting for a hybrid back-to-school plan this fall, that means students will be stepping foot inside classrooms with their backpacks. But that also means they'll be carting around a lot more stuff back and forth, weighing down those bags.
New Jersey chiropractor Jeannine Baer said with students going back to school partially, perhaps only a couple of days a week, they may be nervous they'll forget to bring something home. So, instead, they may carry everything in their backpacks. This heavy weight, if not packed properly, can cause issues like muscular injuries to the back, neck and shoulders.
Baer, a member of The American Chiropractic Association, recommended a classic backpack with two shoulder straps carried on both shoulders, not one. She said the two straps will balance the weight of the backpack evenly across the back and the body.
The backpack should also have lots of compartments. That way items can be packed throughout the bag. Heavier items should be packed closer to the back of the bag and sharp, pointy items should be packed closer to the front.
Make sure the backpack is not hanging down too low. The bottom of the backpack should be up around just below the belt line of the student, she added.
As far as proper weight, Baer said a backpack should weigh less than 10% of a child's body weight.
Anything higher than 15% of total body weight is a very heavy backpack. In that case, she recommends taking out books and binders and carrying them instead while wearing the backpack at the same time.
She said most muscular injuries occur because students are slinging the backpack over one shoulder causing so much strain on that shoulder.
If a backpack is super heavy, she said that could even lead to tingling or numbness in the hands and arms and lower back pain.
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