It’s not just the weight of a backpack, it’s also how it fits! Backpacks vs Posture…. Unfortunately Backpacks have been winning…
Posture can change drastically if more than 10% of child’s body weight is being hauled on their backs. Too much weight can cause stress on the spine and shoulders. It can also lead to forward head posture also known as “text neck”.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, of the 6,512 children treated in hospital emergency rooms last year for injuries related to shouldering backpacks, 54% involved children ages 5 to 14. Carrying a backpack can cause not only acute injury, but also long term damage.
Backpacks vs Posture, the Ideal Fit:
Make sure both straps are used.
Limit weight to 10% of body weight.
Straps at least 2” wide and padded. Bonus if the back is also padded.
Heavier items closest to the back. Lighter items further away.
Child’s ear should be over their shoulders and shoulders should be over center of the hips. Make sure your kiddo isn’t leaning forward and shoulder straps are evenly tightened.
Like the frame of a house, your child’s spine is what keeps him/her upright and sturdy.
A couple of other quick points. The top of the backpack should extend about two inches below the shoulder blades down to the waistline. We don’t want that backpack way up high or way down low. It should fit snug on the back, both straps should fit snugly around the shoulders. A lot of times we’ll see the kids throwing only one of the straps over the shoulder, we’re symmetrical beings, we have a right and a left, we want to get that snugly fit over both shoulders.
Often ignored is the act of lifting the backpack. Bend at the knees, use both hands, check the weight of the pack and lift with your legs, not your back. Carefully put one shoulder strap on at a time. Never sling the pack onto one shoulder. If the backpack is heavy lift to a chair or desk before putting onto back.