Backpacks have been the most common type of bag used especially by kids and those who have an active lifestyle, but little do we know that backpacks are also one of the most dangerous types of backs because of possible injury to the back. Those who use backpacks also tend to put various things inside it making the weight heavier to be carried. Among children, backpacks are full of their books, notes and other school supplies and snacks that give additional burden on their backs.
There have been concerns regarding the use of backpacks especially by children who have delicate bodies. Chiropractors and other homeopathic care providers have been constantly reminding people regarding the use of backpacks. Using backpacks may potentially injure the spine of users especially children who carry heavy weights on their backs. In addition, those who use backpacks may also assume a forward titling position of the neck and the back contributing to poor posture and musculoskeletal strain on the back and in the neck. Despite these, many people still use backpacks because it becomes very conventional to carry things without using your hands.
Since using backpack is generally indispensable, it is more important to ensure safety in using the bags rather than completely eradicating its use. The following are the simple tips in order to make backpack use safer.
- Choose the right size of Backpacks
Always choose a right size for your child. Never buy adult backpacks for children. The correct size of a backpack should never be at the level of the buttocks when worn, instead, it should be two inches above the waist when properly adjusted.
- Consider the ratio of the child’s or person’s weight to the weight of the backpack.
Suggestions indicate that a backpack should only contain up to 20% of the total body weight of the user. Some may also say that 10% is much even better because it lessens the weight that the child has to carry. In the United States, the Backpack Safety of America includes guidelines that children should not carry a backpack more than 15% of their total body weight. To address this, children need to be taught on efficiently using their lockers so they don’t have to carry all their things in their bags. Check your child’s posture. When you observe hunching of the back while carrying the bag, it’s time to unload the backpack.
- Choose backpacks with waist supports or straps
Waist straps tend to reduce the weight that your shoulders and back have to carry. Make sure to tighten the strap properly so it will serve its purpose.
- Wear your backpack properly
Backpacks are meant to be used on two shoulders instead of one. When you carry it with both shoulders, the weight is equally and efficiently spread over the back; thereby reducing more strain on one area of the body. Never wear backpacks in one shoulder especially for children because prolonged use of one shoulder will strain and pull the ligaments in the area contributing to muscle soreness and pain.
- Use wide and padded straps for Backpacks
Always ensure that your children’s backpacks have wide and padded shoulder straps to reduce the tension and irritation on their shoulders. Wider straps tend to add additional support to the shoulders and also prevent impingements in circulation and nerves in the shoulder area.
- Carry appropriately
When you are going to wear your backpack, make sure that your face the bag. Next, bend at your knees to wear one strap at the shoulder then proceed to the next strap. Straighten your knees to take off. This ensures that you use your legs to carry the weight of the bag and not your back muscles.
- Limit the time that you wear the backpack
The general rule is backpacks should only be worn for at most 30 minutes at a time. If you are engaging in hikes or other activities, take some rest in carrying your load by bringing the bag down for at least 5 minutes.
Aside from these tips, it is also better to maintain an active lifestyle with relevant exercises to enhance the flexibility, strength and endurance of your muscles to carry the backpack. For children, exercises may also be done to prevent back injuries and reduce the need for visits to the local Wesley Chapel chiropractor.