The responsibility of finding the right back pack at the beginning of the school year should not be taken lightly. Your child will be carrying it around morning and evening on their way to and from school. Here are some rules to observe to prevent early back problems and bad postural habits from forming during your child’s growing years. You need to know how to choose, fill, pickup and wear your pack.
First of all, the shape of the school bag is important. A one shoulder pack is not a good idea. You absolutely need two straps to evenly distribute the weight on your shoulders. Parents, give the example! If you are travelling to work with a laptop or heavy documents, please use a proper back pack, not a purse or other bag!
Secondly, the school bag should not be too big. It shouldn’t be wider than the child’s back or higher than their shouldres. If the bag is supported on the child’s bum or is lower than their waist, it is too big or not adjusted properly! This is why it is important to go on the school bad shopping spree with your child! Choose a back pack with two wide straps (about 2 inches) that are padded and adjustable in length and a hip or waist band that clips in front. For high school or CEGEP students who need a laptop, it is essential to choose a bag with a padded pocket especially designed for this purpose. Consider the weight of the laptop when shopping for one!
The Louis Garneau line of school bags was chosen by the Association des Chiropraticiens du Québec as having the best design for children in their first years of school. For older children, Obusforme makes great quality bags with ergonomics in mind. With the formentioned rules, you should be able to choose a back pack of any brand.
Quality is much more important than trendy designs. It is not necessary to pay an astronomical price for your child’s school bag, especially in the early years when the bag will need to be changed every year or two due to a child’s growth and wear and tear of the bag. However, for teenagers, hiking style back packs found in outdoors and sports stores have very good quality, ergonomics and durability. You can consider it an investment in your child’s spinal health!
Lastly, the bag should not be over packed. Only essential elements should be carried around. The weight of the filled bag should not be over 10% of your child’s weight. The heaviest objects should be closest to the body, the ligher objects and the ones of different shapes in the outer pockets.
Help your child out their school bag on! You have all seen children swing their heavy back pack off the floor to get it onto one shoulder. This movement puts the shoulder joint at risk and is very difficult for the spine. If your child picks up their bag, they should do it slowly and bending their knees, keeping the bag close to the body. Even better, put the bag on a table or counter and your child will then be able to slip it on easily.
Finally, when the bag is full and on your child’s shoulders, take a good look at their posture. If your child is bending foward to support the weight of the bag or if his shoulders are rounded to keep the bag from slipping off, this is a problem. In these cases, your chiropractor will help you find the solution to keep a young back healthy!!