School is right around the corner and I can hear three sets of screams: one from the kids, one from the teachers and one of joy from the parents.
It is great to keep the kids from being bored or sitting around, but learning can be stressful to the brain and the back. Have you seen the amount of homework they have, and consequential size of their book bags? Not to mention, some students are playing sports or in band, and have to lug that duffle bag or instrument around as well.
Here is a bullet list of ideas to implement for your students safe and their back pain to a minimum:
- — Don’t over pack. It shouldn’t weigh more than 15 percent of his/her bodyweight. A 50-pound child should carry no more than 7-8 pounds in their book bag, 75-pounds – 11-12 pound book bag, 100 pounds – 15 pound book bag, etc.
- — Try to plan better so everything doesn’t have to come home. Parents may be able to help determine what is needed or not.
- — When you pack the bag use some thought to avoid heavy items on top or prevent shifting of items.
- — Pick an appropriately sized bag for the size of your child so it isn’t swinging around. The bigger the purse or house the more we pack into them.
- — Get a pack with two shoulder straps to reduce shoulder pressure
- — Keep the majority of the weight around waist level. The higher the load, like between the shoulder blades, will lead to more postural stress.
- — Speak with your child about why it’s important to use both straps. I know it’s not as cool as flinging a pack over one shoulder but I’m more about function and protecting the body versus what looks hot.
- — When you lift the bag to put it on, lift with your legs, use two hands and face the bag.
- — One strap is similar to carrying a heavy purse. It can lead to the body shifting to one side, result in an elevated shoulder, neck pain, postural problems and back pain.
- — Some backpacks have a waist strap to ensure that the weight stays low and close to the body.
- — Look for red marks on your child’s skin to determine if the book bag is positioned correctly or too heavy.
Source: www.thebaynet.com; Jay Lipoff; August 15, 2013.