September is near and the new school year is just around the corner. It is a new beginning for classes and homework. A key element to consider in planning back to school is “the backpack”. Your children will wear it every day for the next few months. It is therefore important to make sure that their backpacks are well adapted for them and will not cause any harm.
What are the essential components of a good backpack?
First of all, it is important to have a backpack with 2 shoulder straps, not a single shoulder model. The straps must be wide and adjustable to ensure that the bag is at the appropriate level (i.e. at the level of the back, not the buttocks). The straps should also be padded for optimal comfort. The presence of a strap at the waist is also recommended to distribute the weight of the bag on the pelvis. Make sure that the bag is not too big and that it does not limit the movements of the child’s arms.
Another crucial aspect to avoid injuries and pains is the weight of the bag. Have you ever noticed how some students go to school leaning forward trying to support a backpack that seems to weigh three times their own weight?! These “turtle children” are at risk of injury since they have to adopt strenuous postures and compensations to support this heavy load.
There is a simple rule to estimate the maximum weight a child or teenager should carry on its back. In fact, the weight of the backpack should not exceed 10% of its body weight. So, a fourth grader weighing 55 lbs should never have a bag weighing more than 5 to 6 lbs in total, including the bag itself!
Thus, it is important to bring home only what is needed for homework that evening. The rest should remain at school to reduce the load carried in the backpack.
Now that your children are well-equipped for school, why not take the opportunity to walk to school? Walk, ride a bike, or even run to school! This healthy habit is a great way to get active. You can incorporate this into your daily routine. Your child’s health as well as your own can only benefit from this!
Finally, if your child complains of back pain, do not hesitate to consult your physiotherapist!