Back Safety for going Back to School

In the United States, which collects data on backpack injury, over 9,500 children were treated last year along for school bag related injuries and conditions. Young people’s bodies are growing and are susceptible to problems in ways that are different from adults. Incorrectly worn school bags can cause long lasting – even lifetime long – problems and pain.

Here are some tips in helping your child be pain free for school:

  • Never let your child carry more than 10-15% of their body weight in a school bag.  Check the bag – and even then, if your child has to lean to carry it – it’s too heavy.
  • Be sure your child is using a bag that is sized properly:  the bottom of the bag should rest in the curve in the low back, and never more than an inch or so lower than the waist.
  • Buy a bag that has two padded straps – and insist that your child use them. This is important for preventing compression of nerves and blood vessels.
  • Encourage your child to only carry what is needed that day and to use lockers at school.
  • Teach your child to place heavier items at the bottom and closer to their back. It is also important to be sure that items are not sliding around inside the bag.  Distribution of weight is important.

Importantly be alert to your child’s signals.  They may not say anything directly but be alert to changes in behaviour that may indicate that your child is experiencing pain, numbness, tingling or odd sensations anywhere in the body – but especially the shoulders, neck, arms and back.

This is never normal, especially in a child.

If you suspect your child is suffering these symptoms or are worried about their school bag use please book in to see me – and bring their school bag too! I can evaluate your child’s complaint as well as show you the best way to adjust and pack their school bag – specifically for them.