5 ways to ensure your child's backpack won't cause negative health effects

Posted at 5:26 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 17:26:27-04

With school right around the corner, parents need to make sure their child’s backpack isn’t going to cause lasting health issues.

Back in 2010 nearly 28,000 strains, fractures, dislocations, and sprains were treated all because of backpacks.

They can cause discomfort, fatigue, muscle soreness and musculoskeletal pain in the lower back. Back pain can last through adulthood.

When purchasing a backpack, here’s what needs to be considered:

1. Look for Thick Padding along the Back and Shoulders
Poor shoulder padding can result in shoulder pain as the backpack pulls downward.

2. Chose the Right Size
The height of the backpack needs to extend 2 inches below the shoulder blades down to the waist.

3. Make Sure the Straps Are Snug against your Child’s Back
And use the hip or chest belt to relieve the strain on neck and shoulder muscles.

4. Pack the Bag Correctly
Make sure the weight is evenly distributed to reduce aches and pains.

5. Feel How Heavy It Is
It should weigh no more than 10% of a child’s body weight.

Partha’s RX

1. If a child’s backpack is too heavy, only carry the necessary items needed for that day.

2. Don’t swing a backpack over one shoulder as this pulls weight to one side encouraging bad posture.

3. If your child develops muscle soreness, you can apply heat for the first few days using a heating pad or hot water bottle.

4. With back pain that lasts for 2 weeks or longer, please see a doctor.

Non-prescription pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to help reduce a child's back pain caused by overuse, strains and sprains. But use only for the short-term. A properly fitted backpack used in the correct manner is the best way to prevent harmful injuries.