Pack it light. Wear it right.
This crucial accessory, which will be with them through their school years, can be a literal pain in the back (an injury familiar to all Courtenay Chiropractic clinics).
Carrying a heavy load that is unevenly distributed can result in poor posture and cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain. The BC Chiropractic Association has recognized that carrying a backpack is one of the main reasons that children experience back pain. They have subsequently developed a backpack program to educate school children of all ages.
Some of the tips presented are:
- Haul no more than 10% of your body weight for elementary school age kids. For example, if your child weighs 70 pounds, put no more than 7 pounds of stuff in their backpack. High school kids can put up to 15% of their body weight into their backpack.
- Choose a pack that is lightweight (vinyl or canvas); has two wide straps; adjustable padded shoulders; padded back and lots of pockets.
- Pack only what you will need and place the heaviest objects close to the body and bumpy objects on the outside, away from the back.
- Both shoulder straps should be used and the pack should be snug against the body, with a hand space in between the pack and your back. Don’t carry the back pack too low as this will put extra strain on your back. Use the waist strap to transfer some of the load to your hips.
- When lifting the backpack always bend your knees, lifting with your legs not your back.
- Download our backpack safety handout